The launch of an “NHS Assembly” has been moved back to November, meaning it will not contribute to the contents of the NHS long term plan.
In May, NHS England and NHS Improvement said they would set up a new “NHS assembly” for national and local leaders to “oversee progress on the Five Year Forward View and help codesign the proposed upcoming NHS 10 year plan”.
They said it would be “drawn from, among others, national clinical, patient and staff organisations; the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; the NHS arm’s length bodies; and frontline leaders from integrated care systems, sustainability and transformation partnerships, trusts, clinical commissioning groups, and local authorities”.
HSJ understands it is now planned to be convened around November, when the plan is due to be published, with the aim of overseeing its implementation. People who have been particularly involved in developing the plan will also be likely to take part in the assembly, sources indicated.
It is understood the decision was made because it was not thought possible and practical to start and run the “assembly” process in an effective way in the short timeframe available.
Talks are ongoing about how the plan will be drawn up instead, with Healthwatch England, medical royal colleges, and other organisations involved in discussions. STPs and integrated care system leaders may be involved, and asked to lead local discussions about the future of health and care, it is understood.
Prime minister Theresa May said last month, when she confirmed the plan, along with a five year funding settlement, that it would be “developed by the NHS, working closely with government”.
Talks are also taking place among NHS officials and government about the “workstreams” in the development of the long term plan, which will indicate priority areas.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said development of the plan would begin at the end of July.
National Voices director of policy and partnerships Don Redding said: “It may be sensible to put more time into developing the NHS Assembly, but the question of who will be engaged, when and how, in preparing the 10 year plan cannot be postponed.
“Right now, nobody knows. People who use services and the voluntary sector that works closely with them should have a real collective influence this time around. We can help ensure that the new money, and energy for reform, are directed to person centred and population focused goals, not system first aid.”
NHS Providers has previously stressed that “it is vital that NHS trusts have a strong role in shaping and agreeing the delivery plan”.
NHS England said details of the process were being developed.