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Many members of the public, and even some politicians, are only just becoming aware of Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which were imposed in a policy directive from NHS England just 3 days before Christmas in 2015 as part of a major shake up of the NHS.
The dramatic reorganisation of England’s NHS into 44 ‘footprint’ areas, and the requirement for all NHS bodies to collaborate with local government social service agencies on these new 5 year plans, seemed like NHS England’s best hope of balancing its budgets by 2020-21. But the variegated and inconsistent series of 44 documents that have been published since the end of October have clearly fallen far short of NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens’ hopes a year ago.
The STPs are behind schedule, and lack any significant popular public support. And looking at the plans as publis hed it does not take long to see that they will not deliver the promised results: most offer no viable or sustainable plans for staffing or management of the ‘innovative’ proposals to divert services away from hospitals, so the services proposed are not sustainable; there’s virtually no capital available from NHS England to finance any serious transformation; in many of them the numbers plainly
don’t add up, and there is little or no evidence that some of their key proposals can work in practice. Many lack any financial detail, and almost none of them have any worked – through practical plan
for implementation.
By John Lister
CHPI (Centre for Health and the Public Interest) – An independent non-party think tank aiming to set out a vision of health and social care policy based on accountability and the public interest.

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