Institute commentary on King’s Fund STP Implementation Report

Whenever the King’s Fund publishes one of their Reports, people take note. It’s not just that the Radio Four TODAY programme always mentions it. Key NHS Managers, Health stakeholders and even Government Ministers take it seriously.

So how will the Government react to this week’s detailed Report, entitled Delivering sustainability and transformation plans.Whilst being supportive overall and recognising that STPs have an important part to play in moving the NHS forward, the King’s Fund poses the following key question: – Is it possible to convince the public, local authorities and other stakeholders to lend support to STPs when controversy has accompanied their development to date? 

The Report concludes that a huge effort is now required to make up lost ground, engage in genuine consultation on the content of STPs, explain the case for change and the benefits that will be delivered” and it calls for much stronger leadership and staffing to implement a complex range of changes, some of which are bound to generate opposition

 Today the Consultation Institute publishes Briefing Note 18 (see link below) which summarises the King’s Fund Report and outlines our view of the next steps in terms of engagement and consultation. Much as we may have wished to see more of England’s 44 STP ‘footprint’ areas go to consultation with local communities and solicit their views on the future of their health and social care services, it is clear that most will now identify specific service changes and consult on those proposals.

This approach has some advantages. It is always easier to encourage public participation when there are specific proposals – rather than just a plan. It will provide a degree of focus on particular aspects of the service – rather than a more generalised debate. For Managers, it also holds the prospect of accelerating the pace of change, and the prospect of much-needed savings.

But there are drawbacks too. It will highlight some of the more controversial issues, such as bed closures in hospitals without letting the public engage on the good news of better outcomes that can come from technological innovations and new clinical models of care. For those of us who manage these exercises , however, there will be further pressure to be sure that the consultation meets best practice standards and is bullet-proof in the Courts.

Alternatively, the Institute Briefing Note 18 can be seen here briefing-note-18-delivering-stps

About the Author

Rhion Jones is considered a leading authority on Public Engagement and Consultation. A founding Director of the Consultation Institute, he is co-author of “The Art of Consultation” (2009) and “The Politics of Consultation” (2018). He has delivered over 400 training courses and Masterclasses and is a prolific writer on the subject, having written over 300 different Topic papers and over 40 full Briefing Papers for the Institute. Since 2003 over 15,000 person-days of training based on courses he invented have been delivered. Rhion is in demand as an entertaining Keynote Speaker and Special Adviser, particularly on the Law of Consultation, and its implications for Government and other Public Bodies. In 2017, he was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.

Read more about Rhion

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