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NHS England announces best and worst performing NHS reform plans


By Carolyn Wickware
21 July 2017

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NHS England has ranked all 44 local NHS reform plans revealing five to be lagging behind in measures that include patient safety, general practice, leadership and finance.

The rankings found that five plans fall into the lowest category of ‘needs most improvement’, while another five were deemed as ‘outstanding’.

In judging the overall performance of the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), NHS England found that twenty areas were ‘advanced’ and 14 were ‘making progress’.

NHS England has ranked all 44 local NHS reform plans revealing five to be lagging behind in measures that include patient safety, general practice, leadership and finance.

The rankings found that five plans fall into the lowest category of ‘needs most improvement’, while another five were deemed as ‘outstanding’.

In judging the overall performance of the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), NHS England found that twenty areas were ‘advanced’ and 14 were ‘making progress’.

The NHS England ranking assessed the areas on nine measures including emergency care, elective care, patient safety, general practice, mental health cancer, demand management, leadership and finance.

The five ‘outstanding’ plans are:

  • Dorset
  • DDT, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby
  • Frimley Health
  • Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw

Speaking at the NHS England board meeting this morning Matthew Swindells, national director for operations and information, said the ranking aimed to ‘respect and reflect those who are truly outstanding’.

He said the ranking outlines ‘something about the way the systems stand at the moment that we've not previously seen before’.

He added that it represents a step forward in how the NHS is reviewed, ‘at the interface between organisaitons’ rather than on individual providers.

Mr Swindells told the board that ‘it's not about GPs being smarter or hospitals being smarter’ but about how primary and secondary care services collaborate.

However, he cautioned that the rankings don’t reflect ‘the transformational affect that an STP has had’, as the plans are still at an early stage.

The ranking comes after NHS England announced nine areas would be the first to take their STP to the next level and form eight accountable care systems and one devolved health and social care system.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the rankings are a ‘mixed blessing’.

He said: ‘There will be good reasons why some areas are progressing more slowly and it's vital we give them the support they need, rather than point the finger.

‘While there is a case for setting a baseline to measure future progress, we are concerned that the measures at this point must be relatively crude.

‘It may make sense to incentivise those who are most advanced, and set a baseline for future progress but it would be a mistake to stigmatise partnerships that are at an early stage in their development.’

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