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THE NHS, STPS, AND IT

The NHS has been told to draw up sustainability and transformation plans. But what are they, and what do they mean for information technology? ehi LIVE commissioned an exclusive Q&A on the issues that will form the backdrop to this year’s event later this year.

It’s impossible to turn on the television or pick up a newspaper without being told that the NHS is under enormous pressure this winter. Forty-four sustainability and transformation plans have been published to try and address this pressure over the next five years.

The STPs give a key role to healthcare IT, to provide better data for commissioners, to help hospitals, primary care and social care provide joined-up services, and to help the public access help and advice in new ways. This means the plans could provide a significant boost for attempts to digitise the health service; if the money can be found.
 What’s the background to the STPs?

The financial pressures on the NHS are not new. In October 2014, the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, published his ‘Five Year Forward View’ plan to try and close a gap between funding and demand that could otherwise reach £30 billion by 2020–21.

The Forward View calculated the gap could be closed if the NHS made £22 billion of efficiency savings and the government put in £8 billion. The Chancellor at the time, George Osborne, said he would deliver this money in his autumn statement in 2014.
Hasn’t there been a big row about government funding?

Yes, there has. Prime Minister Theresa May has said the government is putting in £10 billion, which is “more than the NHS asked for.”

However, Parliament’s health and public accounts committees have proved that £2 billion of that had already been announced for 2014–15, the year before the Forward View started. MPs have also shown that just £4.5 billion of the £8 billion is ‘new’ money since £3.5 billion is being diverted from other sources, such as public health.

Also, the most of the money is going in this year, with hardly any next year or the year after. And there’s another funding crisis in social care, which is essential for keeping elderly people out of the hospital. However this money is counted, though, the NHS still needs to make £22 billion of efficiency savings. Hasn’t there been a big row about government funding? Yes, there has. Prime Minister Theresa May has said the government is putting in £10 billion, which is “more than the NHS asked for.” However, Parliament’s health and public accounts committees have proved that £2 billion of that had already been announced for 2014-15, the year before the Forward View started. MPs have also shown that just £4.5 billion of the £8 billion is ‘new’ money, since £3.5 billion is being diverted from other sources, such as public health. Also, the most of the money is going in this year, with hardly any next year or the year after. And there’s another funding crisis in social care, which is essential for keeping elderly people out of hospital. However this money is counted, though, the NHS still needs to make £22 billion of efficiency savings. Where is the NHS going to find £22 billion? The Forward View says £7 billion of these will come from central bodies, which is why the Department of Health has just announced a big round of job cuts, and the remaining £15 billion will be made by the local NHS. A lot of that £15 billion will come from trust efficiency programmes. Some is due to come from the reorganisation of ‘back office’ services (such as finance or HR but also pathology). And some will come from changes to the way that frontline services are paid for and organised. The Forward View set out new ‘models’ for managing the care of whole populations, and for creating ‘integrated’ health and social care services; and these are already being tested out by ‘vanguard’ projects. In December 2015, NHS England launched the STP process to try and drive change everywhere else. 
Read full article: http://ehilive.co.uk/industry-news/the-nhs-stps-and-it/

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