South London Local Authority Questions NHS STP Policy

A south London local authority has become the third council to release its full sustainability and transformation plan.

And in doing so has criticised NHS England’s directive that the plans should not immediately be published.

In December 2015, the NHS shared planning guidance 16/17 – 20/21 outlined a new approach to help ensure that health and care services are built around the needs of local populations.

And Sutton Council has today published the full 21 October submission for the south west London STP, claiming that by delaying publication of STPs the NHS has provoked concerns about their content and the process around development.

The document outlines plans to cut the number of acute hospitals on the patch from five to four.

Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council and south London partnership health lead, outlined concerns of the council.

“We are concerned that the NHS centrally has not allowed the publication of our STP and that this is raising worries about its content and the process around its development.”

It is believed that NHS England and NHS Improvement officials have told STP leaders not to publish their 21st October submissions until after they have provided feedback.

Sutton Council’s decision to publish follows similar moves from Birmingham City Council and Camden Council.

The latter also raised concerns over transparency.

The south west London STP outlines an intention to reduce the number of acute sites from five to four, because the existing configuration would not allow the system to meet clinical standards.

It has already been reported that the STP is considering an option to run only three acute sites.

However, the final submission comments that three sites will be “unlikely to be deliverable and is likely to have higher capital costs than four sites”.

Every health and care system in England will be required to produce a multi-year Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), following new NHS England guidance.

This will outline how local services will evolve and become sustainable over the next five years.

It is intended that this will help NHS organisations deliver the Five Year Forward View vision of better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency.

The report also adds that a four-site configuration will require more collaboration, including clinical networking, than is currently the case.

The five acute sites in south west London will be located at Mayday Hospital in Croydon; Epsom Hospital; St Helier Hospital, St George’s Hospital, and Kingston Hospital.

Meanwhile, the STP does not indicate which would be closed under a four site plan but it does say that the only “fixed point” would be St George’s Hospital in Tooting.

STPs are supported by six of the national health and care bodies: NHS England, NHS Improvement, the Care Quality Commission, Health Education England, Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

 

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