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Report shows damning STP results

By Editor
17th November 2017

Lack of consultation and insufficient funding are why the introduction of  Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPS) have not been smooth, according to hospital clinicians.

A report entitled STPs: Destine to Fail of the Road to Better Care? by the Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association (HCSA) has highlighted some of the issues clinicians feel exist when it comes to STPs.

STPs, announced in NHS planning guidance published in December 2015, are five-year plans specifying how local areas will work together to implement the Five Year Forward View and achieve financial stability by 2021.

However, HCSA’s chief executive and general secretary Eddie Saville said they have become “one of the most controversial and politicised strands of health policy in decades”.

The report found 85 per cent of hospital clinicians do not know their STP lead, 93 per cent were not involved in producing their local STP and 96 per cent felt that STPs had not created in a transparent and open manner.

Other findings showed that 56 per cent of survey participants said they expect STPs to result in job cuts and further understaffing and 77 per cent believe STPs are a measure to introduce cuts to the NHS.

Mr Saville said: “They, and their successors Accountable Care Systems, are held up by some as a way to infuse our health and social care system with the best principles of collaboration – the most efficient way to meet the demographic and health challenges of tomorrow.

“To others they are a seen purely as a vehicle for service cuts and privatisation. Certainly, to many Trust managers, they represent a liberating, bottom-up process. But speak with hospital doctors on the front line and the perception is quite the opposite.”

In the report the HCSA gave it’s view on STPs stating: “Whilst we can see the principle of collaboration as desirable, the current development of STPs has caused great concern. HCSA is not against the principle behind STPs, but is concerned about the process by which STPs are being introduced. STPs present an opportunity to introduce major improvements to the quality and effectiveness of NHS services. However, HCSA believes that the current method of development is undermining a sound principle, and eliminating any chance of success.”

Recommendations have been made in a bid to improve the role of STPs. The HCSA said more information needs to be distributed to clinicians, there needs to be robust, proactive and systematic engagement with hospital doctors and there needs to be a realistic timescale for implementation of the plans.

The authors concluded: “HCSA is not against all the intended principles behind STPs. We recognise that they offer potential for organisations across the health and social care systems to work together to develop health policies suited to local needs. However, without adequate funding, a realistic time-frame, or an accompanying process of consultation and engagement with NHS staff and the public, they are likely to miss their key objectives.”

To read the report, click here.

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