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King’s Fund says STPs offer hope but need more money and time

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Can STPs succeed?

The 44 sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) covering England offer the best hope for the future of NHS services but face serious challenges, a King’s Fund report has argued.

The think-tank’s policy analysts argue that the new care models have potential to address financial and operational pressures but health service leaders must be realistic about how long the plans will take to implement — and about the need to ensure the system has sufficient capacity to make the required changes.

The policy analysts argue that most of the extra funds provided by the 2015 spending review are being used to keep services afloat, that government lacks credibility when it claims it has provided ‘the funding needed to deliver the NHS’s own plan’ and that social care’s need for extra resources is ever more urgent.

The situation for STPs is now much more challenging than when the Five Year Forward View policy that created them was published.

News coverage of the report published by the Financial Times interpreted the report as saying hospital beds should not be closed until money has been invested in improving community services.

The BBC has conducted its own analysis of proposed cuts to hospital services across England.

Reflection

  • What might be the outcome, do you think? At a time when government officials are dealing with the decision to leave the EU, what are the chances of extra money for the NHS in the budget in March?