NHS Long Term Plan Implementation Framework published

image of an open book with red bookmark on green background to show Response to the Paterson Inquiry report

The NHS Long Term Plan Implementation Framework has been published. The Framework sets out the approach Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and/or Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are asked to agree their five-year strategic plans by mid-November 2019 covering the period 2019/20 to 2023/24 and publish them a short time after.

It says that system plans will be aggregated, brought together with additional national
activity and published as part of a national implementation plan by the end of the year. The national implementation plan will set out initial performance trajectories and programme milestones to deliver Long Term Plan commitments.

Responding to the publication of the Long Term Plan Implementation Framework, Nick Ville, Director of Membership and Policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “We all support the vision of the NHS Long Term Plan but the ambitions of the plan will in part rest or fall on whether local health and care organisations are given the freedoms they need to work together to provide the best services to patients. We are pleased to see that NHS England/Improvement have endorsed this approach and they now need to create the right environment both nationally and regionally that supports local leaders to make these vital changes. The reality is that local organisations and staff know their communities best and are the ones who should have the freedom to shape services around local need.

“All of this should help us achieve the vision of joined-up care closer to people’s homes, with a focus on prevention and health inequalities. However, we need to be careful about the balance between what national bodies regard as ‘must-dos’ and handing autonomy to local leaders to decide priorities.

“Finally, we must acknowledge that while we have the right vision and more detail today about this will be achieved, there are still some fundamental unresolved issues that are likely to stand in the way of the NHS making progress. At the top of the list is uncertainty about capital spending, training and education budgets, public health and social care. Resolving the staffing crisis in particular will be vital – if we don’t have the right staff in place then all bets are off. These issues must be resolved at the time of the next spending review and need to be a priority for the incoming Prime Minister. Failure to do so will put the NHS plan in jeopardy.”

Dr Graham Jackson, Co-Chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “We are pleased to have clarity on how clinical commissioners and others should now be planning to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan. It is particularly helpful to see clearly which tasks should be prioritised – such as developing primary care networks – to provide a critical foundation for improving the health of the nation. There is also useful detail about funding above CCG allocations – so our members now know what will be available and how.

“There is a lot of work to do in a short time scale. Wide engagement is a fundamental part of designing robust plans that work for local populations so the September deadline – and for many CCGs coinciding with their engagement activities on plans to merge – means it’s a significant challenge. Combining these discussions will be vital.

“We are working closely with NHS England and Improvement to support our members to deliver the priorities of the Long Term Plan, including sharing learning with CCGs considering merging and setting out how clinical commissioning will evolve within systems. We hope this helps with systems in describing how they see the clinical commissioner landscape developing.”