STPs under pressure due to partnership struggles

The majority of NHS organisations and local authorities do not believe that full joint working towards Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) will be achieved in the next five years.

A joint survey, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and iMPOWER Consulting, has revealed that there is a worryingly long way to go to achieving successful partnership working, with 55 of the 56 respondents expressing serious doubts.

The survey found that 25 per cent believe relationships are currently 'limited', while 54 per cent believe them to be reasonable and only 21 per cent very strong.

Furthermore, only 15 per cent expect to be able to use any of the additional £2 billion announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring 2017 Budget towards prevention activities, despite 95 per cent stating that prevention is essential or important.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA’s chief executive, said: “While it is now clear what the overall ambitions are for STPs, the survey released today highlights there may be major barriers to achieving these. The survey shows that there are some significant concerns with regard to joint working, which is vital to the success of STPs. Therefore, serious care and attention must now be paid to building relationships and trust between partners.

“As well as ensuring working relationships are in place for STPs to achieve their desired outcomes, there also needs to be suitable levels of funding. Otherwise, there is the danger that the targets that have been set will turn out to be financially unachievable.”

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