House of Commons Health Committee Announces STP Inquiry

The House of Commons Health Committee is announcing an inquiry into sustainability and transformation plans (STPs).

This follows the publication of the Next Steps on the NHS Forward View by NHS England.

NHS England espouses the notion that STPs were initially “pragmatic vehicles for enabling health and care organisations within an area to chart their own way to keeping people healthier for longer, improving care, reducing health inequalities and managing their money, working jointly on behalf of the people they serve”.

STPs are also a means to an end, effectively a mechanism for delivering the Forward View and the key national priorities in this Plan.

With this in mind, mind, the Committee has invited written submissions addressing any or all of the following points:

– What governance, management and leadership arrangements need to be created to enable STP planning and implementation to be carried out effectively?

– What legislative, policy and/or other barriers are there to effective STP governance and implementation, and what needs to be done by national bodies and national leaders in the NHS to support the implementation of STPs?

– How far do STPs signal a move away from the purchaser/provider split?

– What public engagement will be necessary to enable STPs to succeed, and how should that engagement be undertaken?

– What impact will STPs have on the delivery of care to patients?

– Are the demands being made of STP plans through the NHS Mandate and the NHS Shared Planning Guidance deliverable with the financial resources available? If not, what are the priority areas for additional resources to make STPs successful?

– How effective have STPs been in joining up health and social care across individual footprints, and in engaging parts of the system outside the acute healthcare sector, for example local authorities, public health, mental health and voluntary sector partners?

– Looking across all 44 STPs, are there any major areas where the content of the plans needs to be tested for credibility and realism? Are there any major gaps? For example, are proposals in some plans to reduce bed capacity credible?; are the NHS efficiency estimates in STPs robust?; is the workforce available to enable the implementation of STPs?; or is the timescale on which the changes proposed in STPs realistic?

Please note that, whilst examples from individual STPs to illustrate points being made would be very helpful, the Committee, which has a national remit, will not expect to make a judgement about the proposals contained in any particular STP. The Committee’s role is to consider the STP process as a whole at a national level.

Submissions should not exceed 3000 words, and should reach the Committee by Tuesday 9 May.

Written submissions can be made via the Sustainability and Transformation Plans inquiry page.


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