The development of the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) at the end of last year was a direct response to help us deliver the NHS Five Year Forward View in a population and system wide approach. They also reflect the times we are living in and the enormous financial and operational challenges that the NHS and social care face.
The emerging theme amongst the majority of STPs in that there is a need to tackle variation in the delivery of acute services, to redesign these services to maximise patient outcomes and centralise some more specialised services. This may well result in a reduction in acute beds and possible hospital closures. Not a popular decision with the general public. However, these changes are interrelated, with plans to develop primary and community care so that more services are delivered outside of hospitals and patients are cared for at home. This would also mean more joined up care between GPs, community care and social services. All of which would be welcomed. The STPs also plan to build on the new models of care that have been developed by many of the vanguard sites over the last few years, and integrate these more widely across the NHS and social care. So what might this mean for our respiratory services and patient care?
There are two positive roles that STPs have set their stall out to achieve and these are:
To improve prevention and early diagnosis
To improve and develop community care for patients
Both these aims could bring about real health improvements and lifestyle changes for respiratory patients which would be welcomed. Set against this however, is the enormity of the task and will required to deliver this, when funding is being cut across both health and social care sectors. These two factors could well determine the success or failure of the STPs. For further information on STPs read the King’s Fund latest report.
You can also come along to the summer meeting on June 28th, where Prof Mike Roberts will be speaking on STPs and what they mean for Respiratory Care of the future.