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‘Unique’ new programme to help trusts move towards STP structures

A major programme of work has been launched this week by NHS Providers to put support and a strong advocate in place for trusts moving to accountable care structures.

The programme of support has been created to help leaders of trusts, sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and other integrated care systems adapt to the new challenges created by this new way of working.

Called ‘Supporting Providers: ‘STPs and accountable care’, the programme will be developed with trusts over the next six weeks.

Ideas that are being developed include creating new and effective relationships with local authorities, primary care and commissioners as well as responding to specific challenges such as moving care closer to home and prioritising mental health and workforce strategies.

This is particularly important after a CIPFA survey last week found that joint working between NHS organisations and local government was not being delivered in the vast majority of England’s 44 STP areas.

The programme will also explore new ways to support change, identify “enablers” including new approaches to contracting, different financial flows, adopting risk stratification and whole-population health management approaches, and developing STP-level governance arrangements.

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, explained: “The NHS is changing from a focus on individual NHS institutions to integrated local health and care systems. NHS trusts and foundation trusts are already playing a key role in this process through their STPs, by adopting new care models and by moving to accountable care structures.

“In our recent member survey, trusts told us they wanted more support in these areas. It is clear that trusts and their STPs are at very different stages of development, and have strong views on how they should progress.”

Hopson added that there was a strong appetite to share learning but, at the same time, national frameworks were still struggling to keep up.

“Our focus will deliberately be unique and distinctive: using our in-depth knowledge and understanding of providers, we will support them in the detailed practicalities of making these important transformations work and representing members’ views to the arm’s-length bodies,” he added.

“We will take care to avoid duplicating the work of others. We will work to identify what is happening in the more innovative and advanced systems, and across the wider NHS, consulting closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement through the STP advisory group.”

But NHS Providers will also look to build on existing partnerships, such as the work to publicise the early lessons from the New Care Model vanguards involving NHS Clinical Commissioners, the Local Government Association and NHS Confederation.

“Above all, our work is most powerful and successful when it’s done in close collaboration with our members,” Hopson said. “We will consult closely with them as we prepare more detailed plans over the next six weeks. We’re excited by the prospect of supporting them even more effectively as they move into a new landscape and effect important changes.”

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