Birmingham and Solihull becomes first footprint to publish STP

Birmingham and Solihull has become the first footprint in the country to publish its draft sustainability and transformation plan (STP).

STPs, which have been heralded as the way forward to ensuring sustainable funding for the NHS and delivering better joined-up services, came under fire recently when it emerged that some footprints are considering hospital closures.

Birmingham and Solihull said its STP would address the problems for the area’s health and care economy, which is due to have an £18m deficit this year, which will grow to £712m cumulatively by 2020-21.

The life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived areas is 7.4 years for men and 4.9 years for women in Birmingham, and 10.3 and 10.5 years in Solihull.

Birmingham and Solihull has estimated that if it carries on running services as it has always done, it will need an additional 430 hospital beds by 2020 just to meet demand, the equivalent of another general hospital.

Mark Rogers, system leader for Birmingham and Solihull STP and chief executive of Birmingham City Council, said: “This situation is set to get worse unless something changes, so organisations have come together in a way they haven’t before, with a real sense of commitment and purpose, to create a draft plan to transform the health and care system. 

“Everyone is clear that this is a real opportunity to do things differently, building a stable, sustainable, high-quality, efficient health and care system that works for the people of Birmingham and Solihull.”

The STP has three strategic objectives: creating efficient organisations and infrastructure; transformed primary, social and community care; and fit for future secondary and tertiary services.

Pledges under ‘creating efficient organisations and infrastructure’ include developing a single integrated pathology service, reducing underused and poor-quality estates, and sharing back-office functions.

Goals for primary, social and community care included developing four or five integrated service hubs for urgent care, developing community-based multi-disciplinary teams for long-term conditions, and offering ‘8 to 8’ GP services.

For secondary and tertiary services, the STP set the goal of establishing joint commissioning of maternity and neonatal services with a single point of access for expectant mothers and a Children’s Network for paediatric services by 2018.

It also set objectives for mental health services including reducing out-of-area placements and increasing the number of patients in paid employment.

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, cabinet member for health and social care at Birmingham City Council, said: “I believe this is the right direction of travel and it is vital that we have a fully integrated health and social care system. I would like to reiterate on behalf of Birmingham City Council our strongest possible commitment to a collaborative and place-based approach.

“The council has consistently made clear that the funding crisis facing the social care system can only be addressed by a more imaginative whole system redesign and the STP I hope will be the starting point, and I urge people to give their views as part of our public and partner engagement.”

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, recently told the Health Select Committee that some STPs are based on plans that “are not going to happen” and face a “scary” funding shortfall.

(Image c.  Rudolf Schuba)

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