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Regional healthcare plans need locally elected leader to work, says Reform


17 February 2017

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Regional plans to transform health and social care ‘will not work in its current form’, a public services think tank has said.

In a study, Reform has said that the 44 sustainability and transformation plans don’t have enough support or power to make the changes they propose to healthcare services.

Regional plans to transform health and social care ‘will not work in its current form’, a public services think tank has said.

In a study, Reform has said that the 44 sustainability and transformation plans don’t have enough support or power to make the changes they propose to healthcare services.

The think tank calls on the Government to put one elected individual in charge of the whole healthcare budget in each STP area, giving them the power to deliver changes.

The study supports the plans but says they will fail to address the problems in social care, as the involvement of local authorities was minimal.

The report also notes that national NHS authorities have sent mixed messages to STPs, by asking for long-term changes as well as other short-term financial savings.

STPs  are also confronted with a uniting a variety of funding systems, which lead organizations to act in their own interests rather than work together.

The think tank recommends a series of major changes to give STPs both power and local commitment, including giving STPs full control of the total NHS and social care budget in their area.

The report also recommends that a single body in each STP area should commission all health and social care, with STP leaders locally elected to secure local buy-in for its proposals.

Kate Laycock, report co-author, said: ‘As recent weeks have shown, the NHS desperately needs ideas that reshape local services and ease the burden on over-pressed hospitals.

‘STPs can do it but only if Ministers give them full control of local health and social care, under one directly elected individual. Without that, the high hopes for STPs will be disappointed.’

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