Secret plans on which the fate of the NHS rests

From Pulse online magazine


It can be very hard to keep track of all the three letter acronyms in the NHS. Most are not worth worrying about, but this is one you should remember.

The health service will live or die at the hands of the STPs

STP. These three letters signal a quiet revolution in how the health service is run and they hold the best hope of saving it.

Everyone agrees that the NHS is at breaking point. The whole system is creaking and lurching towards the ICU. Trusts are tumbling further into the red. General practice is convulsing. A&E departments are full to bursting. Hoist by its own petard of a Five Year Forward View, the whole service has at least £22bn of efficiency savings to deliver in return for the £8bn given by the Chancellor. And those figures are looking very conservative.

But radical plans – due to be submitted to NHS bosses by the end of this month – are meant to put the whole service back on the road to recovery. These ‘sustainability and transformation plans’ (STPs)* mark a massive shift in the way the NHS in England is run.

STPs will finally skin the competition-crazed, fractured cat let loose by Andrew Lansley. The NHS has ditched the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and rewound around 20 years, with the return of regional health authorities.


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