7 days to STP submissions – are we all in this together?
Seven more days to go – and all over England in 44 ‘footprint’ areas, hugely significant plans are being submitted that can affect the NHS and social care in your area. Seven days to influence the way our most cherished public service develops.
But this is not a 38 degrees style petition; this is a reminder to all relevant public bodies and voluntary organisations that they are all meant to have been involved in the process. And although there is controversy over what has and has not been published in various areas, no clued-up body can say it is unaware that these plans are being drawn up.
- All key providers to the NHS are meant to have been part of the process
- Clinical Commissioning Groups are all party to local discussions
- Medical Committees and specialist health stakeholders should have been given a role
- Local authorities cannot reasonably complain of a lack of opportunity to be involved
- Every top-tier Council has a Health & Wellbeing Board that should have been plugged into the process.
- Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees know about these plans
- Healthwatch will have been fully informed, and hopefully included in dialogue
- In most areas, the Community and Voluntary Sector will have been part of the discussion for many months
- Separately, Members of Parliament are, of course well aware of the STP work affecting their constituencies and most will have taken the opportunity to input their views in recent weeks
With all the recent publicity and heavy coverage in the medical and social policy press, this is hardly a ‘secret’ process.
But just in case, if any reader of this note suspects there has not been quite the depth of engagement that NHS England Guidance requires, here is one last opportunity to double-check that these dialogues have in fact taken place properly. Seven days may not be long but it might just be enough to ensure that a particular point of view is properly heard by those charged with the difficult task of mapping the future.
Ministers have made unequivocal commitments to consult later on in the process, but, as everyone knows, the earlier the better – particularly if, maybe, there are allegations of ‘pre-determination’ in the air. No-one wants to see this process bogged down in legal challenges.
So here are FOUR things you can do today:
- Circulate this note within your organisation as a timely reminder and check that every relevant Manager has taken the opportunity for involvement in the STP process
- Read the recently-published NHS Guidance document “Engaging local People – a guide for local areas developing Sustainability and Transformation Plans”
- Contact local media and confirm that your organisation has been involved, and help allay public concern that this is a stealth process. Remember that ‘consultation’ will happen in due course
- Consider the Institute as an independent assessor of STP engagement. We have developed a quick methodology whereby we can build a picture of the engagement carried out within an STP footprint in recent weeks and form a view as to whether it is line with the NHS England Guidance – also whether it is likely to be adequate pre-consultation for the more formal process that will follow. If interested, contact the Institute – either online or call 01767 318350 and ask for Jan or Martin.
Dialogue is a two-way process and it is up to all parties to ensure they are participating fully. The Institute is keen to ensure that as much as possible, processes of this significance reflect best practice. And we are happy to help.