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78% of doctors don’t feel involved in STP plans, BMA survey reveals


By Léa Legraien
20 September 2018

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Nearly eight in 10 doctors do not feel engaged in their STP, new research has revealed.

A BMA survey published today found that 78% of doctors have not been involved or engaged in the plans of their STP in the past year.

A total of 7,887 doctors were surveyed between May and June on various challenges they currently face in the NHS, including funding challenges and excessive workload.

Key findings include:

  • Seven in 10 doctors (73%) believe there are organisational barriers between primary and secondary care, with six in 10 (60%) saying these compromise the safety and quality of patient care.
  • Eight in 10 (84%) agree that such barriers lead to greater bureaucracy and administrative costs.
  • Eight in 10 (80%) feel that STP plans are driven chiefly by cost pressures, with half (51%) believing their STP will cut services.
  • Seven in 10 (73%) have not heard of any plans to establish an ACO – now an integrated care provider – or an ICS in their area.

‘Fewer barriers to effective joint working’

The BMA recommended that primary and secondary care clinicians should face ‘fewer barriers to effective joint working across traditional settings’.

The report said: ‘All health systems across the UK should be considering how they can facilitate this change to happen, including making better use of technology.

‘Doctors in England strongly support looking at ways of improving collaboration such as better data sharing, shared pathways, system-wide incentives to work together more closely and protected funding for schemes designed to promote joint working.

‘In England, much more needs to be done to engage doctors in the development of new commissioning and delivery structures.’

Lack of involvement

STPs were brought in by NHS England in 2015 to support the implementation of the Five Year Forward View. These involve leaders across local health and care systems, such as GPs and CCG leads, working together to meet the need of a defined population.

In February, the BMA argued that ‘the majority of doctors’ had not been consulted on STP plans.

A BMA spokesperson told Healthcare Leader: ‘We’ve always been critical of STPs, mostly around how the plans were drawn up behind closed doors, how they appeared to be stealth cuts and about the lack of engagement with clinicians.

‘We want the Government to explore solutions to these problems  in a transparent way that engages doctors, staff and patients much more effectively.

‘Any changes to commissioning and delivery structures in England must be properly resourced, and should never be used as a vehicle for cuts. Integration can benefit patients, but cannot be done on the cheap – proper investment is required.’

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