Sustainability and Transformation Plans – Healthwatch Birmingham Briefing

October 6, 2016

You are going to be hearing a lot about Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) in the next coming months. There is currently a widening gap between what the NHS is required to deliver and the funding available. STPs should show how local services will evolve and become sustainable going forward. STPs will bring together local health and social care services (known as footprints) to develop plans that will improve health and wellbeing, and deliver quality care with fewer resources.

What are STPs?

Plans to develop STPs were agreed at the end of 2015 when NHS England and key national NHS bodies instructed local health and care organisations to develop five year plans. England was then divided into 44 areas which were called ‘footprints’.
The STPs are a tool that will enable local areas to work together to identify the actions they need to take to address the gaps identified in the Five Year Forward View, which were: to address the funding gap, improve service quality and enhance population health and wellbeing.
The aim is encourage the development of plans that respond to the needs of local areas and their populations rather than plans based on individual organisations.

What does this mean for patients, the public and service users?

According to the NHS this will mean that care and support for patients, the public and service users is joined up, delivered closer to home and centred on the patient. Planning care based on the whole population in a specific footprint/geographical area, ensures the delivery of the right care, in the right place and at the right time. For instance, local health and care systems can jointly tackle shared problems such as transfers of care.

What role for patients, the public and service users?  

The planning guidance published by NHS England emphasises that each STP development process should be open and engaging. STP leaders should be considering how to include patients, carers and the public, as well as voluntary and community sector organisations in achieving the necessary service transformations. In September, 2016, NHS England published guidance on engaging local people, which outlines how to involve the public and ensure that their views, especially of those who experience the greatest health inequalities, are heard. Engagement should be based on the six principles outlined in the Five Year Forward View
The guidelines state that people should be involved throughout the STP process: from identifying problems, to the design of solutions, delivery of solution and its review.

What is happening in Birmingham with regards to STPs?

The local footprint is called Birmingham and Solihull and is led by Mark Rogers (Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council) with Tracy Taylor (Chief Executive, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust) serving as Workforce lead. The footprint is made up of three CCGs (Birmingham Cross City, Birmingham South Central and Solihull CCGs). The residents which fall under Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG will be part of the Black Country STP.
The Birmingham and Solihull footprint is yet to share its plans with the public due in part to NHS England’s instruction that draft plans were not to be shared publicly in advance of submission of the full STP which is due on 21st October, 2016.

Healthwatch Birmingham activity.

Since May, Healthwatch Birmingham has been promoting the importance of patient and public involvement in the STP process at every opportunity. We have met with key leads around the STP to discuss the use of public insight, experience and involvement in the development of plans.  We will update our activities in regards to the STP going forward and report via our website.
IMG_3651 cropped for webResponding to the latest updates on STPs Andy Cave, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Birmingham said:
“Healthwatch Birmingham welcomes NHS England’s recent guidance to support the involvement of local people in Sustainability and Transformation Plans. We look forward to seeing Birmingham and Solihull’s engagement plans when they are published.
“Due to the scale of the changes, it is important that citizens hear about the developments to their health and social care system and are engaged in decisions that will impact them. Healthwatch Birmingham hope to see STPs using a wide range of methods to reach and involve diverse communities across Birmingham, and provide an accessible way for patients and the public to make their views heard. We continue to welcome conversations with STP leaders to share and support ways to effectively engage and involve members of the public.
“It is vital that engagement and consultation also gives people enough time to respond to local proposals. I am pleased to see NHS England’s guidance includes this advice and anticipate appropriate planning to ensure people feel part of the process. Going forward, Healthwatch Birmingham are keen to understand how people’s views are used to influence and improve plans.
“Healthwatch Birmingham regularly hears from people about their experiences of using local health and social care services, through routes such as our online Feedback Centre. People are telling us about the quality of care they receive and what they expect from local services. We would like to hear from patients, the public, service users and carers about their thoughts on the STP so we can continue to make their views known.
“We are also in discussions with leaders to embed Healthwatch Birmingham’s Quality Standard for using patient and public insight, experience and involvement to reduce health inequality and improve health outcomes, which can support the system in their plans to engage, involve and gain insight from patients and the public.”


Share your thoughts on the STP with Healthwatch Birmingham:

Email or call 0800 652 5278 / 0121 636 0990.

Related links:

Sustainability and Transformation Plans were recently discussed at the September Health, Wellbeing and the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Healthwatch Birmingham presented at the Committee, with the webcast available to view at:

Key dates:

  • 30th June 2016: Outline Sustainability Transformation Plans (STPs) submitted.
  • July 2016: STP footprint leaders will meet with NHS England directors to discuss their STP.
  • Autumn 2016: Development of the STP to include engagement with public and Voluntary and Community Sector.
  • 21st October 2016: Submission of STPs.
  • 24th November 2016: Submission of full draft 2017/18 to 2018/19 operational plans.
  • 23rd December, 2016: National deadline for signing of contracts.
  • 23 December, 2016: Submission of final 2017/18 to 2018/19 operational plans aligned with contracts.
  • April 2017: The first ‘additional’ funding for STPs available.

More information:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *