Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs)
STPs have been written by senior health and care commissioners / providers to try and begin the process of designing how services will look in the future to take into account the changing health needs of the country.
There are 44 STP ‘footprints’ areas across the country, and each has had to draft and submit a plan to the Department of Health to state how they plan to introduce changes to make services more community-based and more integrated (i.e. working more closely together) to provide better quality advice and treatment and be more efficient.
Portsmouth sits within the Hampshire and Isle of Wight (HIOW) footprint and has its own plan and summary document.
Healthwatch Portsmouth has contributed to a national conversation on STPs by attending events which have brought together local Healthwatch and NHS leaders to review how local communities have been involved in shaping STPs to date and the opportunities that exist for making sure this happens in the future.
From these events, several clear themes emerged from debate and discussion and Healthwatch England has recommended the following needs to happen next:
- The need for the NHS to clearly explain STP proposals to their communities in clear, accessible language.
- STP proposals taking into account the needs of, and ensure equality of access for, disadvantaged groups. Local Healthwatch can play a specific role in helping the NHS talk to seldom heard communities.
- The importance of involving the wider voluntary, charitable and social enterprise sectors in local conversations about STPs.
- The need for NHS England and Healthwatch England to promote good practice and successful examples of when the public have been involved in health reforms.
- The need for both the NHS and local Healthwatch to make clear to people how their views have been used.
Within Portsmouth, we have be keen to discuss with key local commissioners and providers involved in the STP process as to how they are planning to engage with the local community, to ensure that citizens have every opportunity to shape and influence how services will be designed and provided in the future.
We were very pleased to host Mark Smith, Programme Manager for the HIOW STP, at our board meeting in public in February this year, which gave an opportunity for Healthwatch Portsmouth board members and members of the public in the audience to scrutinise the plans and seek reassurances regarding how local people will be engaged in the process. For more details about the discussions, minutes from the meeting, with a summary of the questions and answers provided, are available here.
There have been a number of different views shared locally and more widely about the value and impact of STPs, some in support and some against. For Healthwatch Portsmouth, we welcome the opportunity to be involved in public engagement on the STP and will seek to ensure the public have an opportunity to shape and influence services. We are independent of the STP process and will aim to advise on plans for engagement and link with other local Healthwatch in the area of the STP to support engagement activities where appropriate.
For more detail about our approach to the STP, please click here.
Since our board meeting, we have been in further discussion with senior decision-makers to seek progress with plans to better communicate and engage with city residents. We are also working with other Local Healthwatch across the HIOW area to ensure senior commissioners and providers are planning in how to involve the public for issues that impact more than one area, such as access to hospitals and mental health services.
Please watch this space for further updates.
In the meantime, for more information about STPs, you might find the following links useful:
Health & Care Portsmouth
This is the local plan, specific to Portsmouth, which aims to implement key actions and changes to improve the health and well-being of Portsmouth residents.
The five key organisations involved in designing this plan are:
- Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
- Portsmouth City Council (PCC)
- Solent NHS Trust
- Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance (GP representatives).Again, as with the regional STP, the aim is to enable organisations to work closer together with greater emphasis on working in local communities, through the design and provision of all health and care services.
More details about the plan can be found at: https://healthandcare.portsmouth.gov.uk/home.aspx