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Commissioning cycles brought forward to help STP implementation


21 July 2016

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NHS England is bringing forward the annual commissioning cycle to help accelerate the implementation of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, has told the House of Commons health select committee that the 2017/18 and 2018/19 commissioning cycles would both be completed by Christmas.

NHS England is bringing forward the annual commissioning cycle to help accelerate the implementation of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, has told the House of Commons health select committee that the 2017/18 and 2018/19 commissioning cycles would both be completed by Christmas.

He said this would allow local authority leaders and commissioners to use “October, November, December to actually divvy up their money in the local health economies and then spend January onwards, sleeves rolled up getting on with it”.

Stevens said that although there is a lot of work to be done, he is “encouraged” by the conversations between health and care leaders.

He said there was a particular effort to bring “GP practices together, scaling them and integrating community nursing services”.

As a result, he said, over the next three to five years, they can make sure marginal funding increases go into “primary and community services and indeed mental health – rather than just the click of the turnstile hospital emergency waiting times and bed days.”

The plans will be finalised by July 29 before being approved by NHS England in October.

Stevens noted that some CCGs and local authorities have been working together already for some time, with a clear view to implementing the Five Year Forward View, leaving NHS England only to “fire the starting gun, which we expect to be able to do in October”.

However, for some of the 44 STP footprints this process is the first time health and care services are working together leaving them with a “further path to tread”.

Unable to specify how many STPs may lag behind, Stevens said: “The majority of the country will have well designed service improvement and change plans that we will be able to back.”

Stevens said NHS England is three quarters of the way through face-to-face discussions with all 44 areas, after which they will “informally rank” them and then work through what the aggregate of all the proposals amounts to.

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