Sustainability and Transformation Plans
In January 2016 NHS England divided England into 44 STP 'footprints' – areas in which health and care organisations would work together to develop and deliver Sustainability and Transformation Plans. This collaborative approach would be a move away from the competition introduced in the Health and Social Care Act 2012
There has been some suspicion that the purpose of STPs is more to deal with the financial crisis of the NHS than to improve care. A Kings Fund paper on the development of STPs concluded that STPs offer a preferable alternative to the ‘fortress mentality’ where NHS organisations act to secure their own future regardless of the impact on others. However the authors stated that:
"The original purpose of STPs was to support local areas to improve care quality and efficiency of services, develop new
models of care, and prioritise prevention and public health. The emphasis from national NHS bodies has shifted over time
to focus more heavily on how STPs can bring the NHS into financial balance (quickly). National NHS leaders are themselves
under pressure from central government to close gaps in NHS finances, at a time when the NHS faces an unprecedented
slowdown in funding and dramatic cuts have been made to public health and social care budgets."