Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) – the 44 regionally specific blueprints for improving health and social care services and finances for the coming five years – are taking shape, and final versions are expected to be submitted in the coming weeks. With this in mind, the Nuffield Trust and the Healthcare Financial Management Association recently held a workshop for STP leaders that was designed to help those involved in STP ‘footprints’ to develop their plans. We have drawn together insights from the workshop, from members of our learning networks for hospital CEOs and CCG accountable officers, and from a series of conversations with other STP leads. We have also reviewed a number of draft plans.
This discussion paper reflects the work in progress from one third of STP areas, as captured in July and August 2016. It shows that the scale of the STP process is large and ambitious, and the speed with which plans are being pulled together is astonishing. So far, the plans are not sufficient to close the funding gap, but, if implemented well and combined with high-quality local efficiency improvement, they would go some way to doing so and would demonstrate the capability of the NHS and social care system to deliver. This paper points to some important trends, ideas to be explored and issues that need to be resolved in order to ensure success.