Adviceline: what sustainability and transformation plans might mean for you

Alice Sorby unpicks what sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) might mean for you.

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) are blueprints for changing local health and care services in 44 areas of England over the next five years. For physio staff, key questions are whether more of them will work in primary care settings and whether there will be more investment in rehab services. 
The CSP accepts that health and social care needs ‘transforming’ and backs moves to create a system that puts prevention and rehabilitation to the fore. We support the idea that health and social care should be integrated as a means to improve patient care. However, such transformation requires time, investment and engagement with the workforce and the public at large.
STPs have been surrounded by controversy, with timelines appearing rushed and somewhat unclear. All 44 plans were scheduled for publication by the end of 2106. From April, STPs will control all the funds available to revamp health and social care services. 
Organisations representing GPs, local authorities and others have raised concerns about how funds will be allocated and said a focus on the acute sector is unhelpful. In order to challenge the perception that STPs are a vehicle to cut costs and pare back provision, more public scrutiny is vital. In terms of workforce engagement, lessons can be learnt from the devolution process in Greater Manchester. However, the central issue of funding cannot be dodged – no system, however good, can be the whole answer if funding is inadequate. And the case for engagement is clear – better engagement, particularly with the people delivering services, results in better outcomes.
CSP members in England might like to find out if an STP has been published covering your area and what the priorities are. Ask whether they offer opportunities or threats to physiotherapy services. Can you access information on how to get involved in any engagement and consultation processes? 
Are there any deadlines for getting involved?
Tell your CSP steward and regional network what you found out. I would also welcome hearing your views. 
Alice Sorby, CSP policy and research officer.  Email

Further reading

Alice Sorby CSP policy and research officer

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