Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum event today (20 February), Global Health Practice chairman and partner Dr Mark Britnell said that ‘some Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) will succeed but many will fail’.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson echoed his words by saying that ‘we now need to accept that while some STPs are doing well, it’s pretty clear that some STP areas may not be workable’.
Mr Hopson continued: ‘At the moment, we have a national policy framework where we’re all on this inevitable escalator towards an integrated care system status.
‘This vision is probably no longer right because we can absolutely see that not all STP areas will get there.
‘As soon as you acknowledge that some aren’t going to make it in their current form, we need an open and honest debate about what we do next.’
Mr Hopson said that ‘there is a significant variation between STPs, which is growing fast’.
He added: ‘The existing model of providing care is breaking down.
‘It’s too fragmented, medicalised, hospitalised and there is too much demand for us to currently cope with, too big of a funding gap, too little innovation and too much variation.
‘If we’re going to meet that changing demand, we need to provide care differently.’
In some parts of the country, STPs have started to evolve to form an integrated care system (ICS), which is ‘where health and care organisations voluntarily come together to provide integrated services for a defined population’, said NHS England.
According to Mr Hopson, there are currently eight or 10 successful Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) in England, which is mainly due to a great level of collaboration between the stakeholders in the service.
He said: ‘Our members agree that solutions based on local-system partnerships rather than isolated activity is absolutely the way forward.
‘But I would argue that providers aren’t leading and contributing to STPs at accountable and integrated care levels across the country and continue to play that pivotal leadership role and developing a system approach.’
‘The case of change and the models under development vary considerably across the country.
‘They’re largely dependent upon whether areas have a history of strong relationships.’