The anticipated inquiry into sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) has been halted because of the election and no further submissions are being accepted. 

Following publication by NHS England of the Next Steps on the NHS Forward View, the House of Commons Health Committee announced an inquiry into STPs. However, as the current Health Committee will cease to exist on the dissolution of Parliament on 3 May, no further submissions are being accepted. It will be for the new Committee in the next Parliament to decide whether to proceed with the inquiry. If it does so, a new deadline for written submissions will be set. Submissions which have already been sent will be made available to the new Committee.

STPs began life as 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. They are a means to an end, a mechanism for delivering the Forward View and the key national priorities in this Plan. (p.32)

Bearing in mind the role of STPs described above, the Committee invites written submissions addressing a number of points. From a Social Care perspective the critical point is:

  • 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?

Others are below:

  • 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?
  • 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?

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