The move towards transformation in the NHS lacked funding, time and support, a Government health body has said.
A report on integrated care published today (11 June) by the Health and Social Care Committee found that NHS England and local government were not given ‘adequate investment, support and time to embark on the scale of transformation envisaged’.
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson told Healthcare Leader that it remains ‘committed to being open and transparent with the public and will consider this report and work with the NHS to respond in due course’.
The report also warned that funding and workforce pressures on local areas ‘may exacerbate tensions’ between integrated care systems (ICSs) and sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) members and undermine their aim to meet patients’ needs.
It highlighted the slow progress made towards more joined-up, coordinated and person-centred care to provide better experience for patients.
NHS England and NHS Improvement plan to help all STPs to become ICSs, which will reduce competition in tendering contracts for new services, according to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.
Lack of transparency
Responding to the report, British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that the way transformation plans are being rolled out ‘lacks transparency and has made minimal genuine efforts to engage healthcare staff, patients and the public’.
He added: ‘From STPs to accountable care organisations (ACOs) and now ICSs and integrated care providers (ICPs), professionals and the wider population alike are left to navigate a maze of meaningless acronyms with little explanation.
‘This report reflects a number of our concerns, including the lack of consultation and engagement surrounding such plans and the need for patient care to be put at the heart of any moves towards an ICS.
‘The BMA is concerned that such transformation plans will operate within current procurement rules, which risks handing an area’s NHS budget to private providers through competitive tendering’, said Dr Chaand.
‘Added to this is the insecurity of fixed-term ACO contracts, which will require re-bidding every 10 years and which a provider can terminate and walk away from early.’
In May, the BMA supported a High Court case against Government plans to bring local health and social care services under one ACO contract.