Observations The Best Policy

The NHS’s sustainability and transformation plans: doing so much with so little

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2380 (Published 29 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2380
  1. Nigel Edwards,
  2. chief executive
  1. Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. nigel.edwards{at}nuffieldtrust.org.uk

There are no easy fixes for the gap in the NHS’s finances

A new acronym to add to the health service’s already large collection is STP, standing for sustainability and transformation plan. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS trusts, and local authorities have grouped themselves into 44 clusters to plan how to deal with the NHS’s financial hole. The aim is to reconcile growing demand for care with fairly static funding, by improving connections between different services and treating more patients outside hospital.

The plans are to be completed by June. A similar exercise happened two years ago, but these “units of planning” were quietly put aside and replaced by the Five Year Forward View.1 Although that document makes the direction of travel a little clearer, …

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