HSJ’s round-up of Monday’s must read stories and talking points

First full STPs published

STP leaders in Birmingham and Solihull, and north London, may be on NHS England’s naughty step for a while after publishing their sustainability and transformation plan submission – despite the national commissioning body telling leaders to hold off on releasing their “full” submissions, which were made on Friday.

HSJ understands that many STP leaders and other local senior figures have been told by national NHS England and NHS Improvement officials that they should not publish their submissions until a later stage, after they have received feedback from those organisations. The issue has also become a subject of national political controversy.

Birmingham City Council published an 80 page document for its STP. It outlines plans to move to a “lead provider” model for maternity services, and a “prime provider” model within tertiary care. Despite the intention to change the way maternity and tertiary care is delivered and commissioned, the STP leads are firm that they do not expect the acute bed base in the system to reduce.

Last week the council’s director for people Peter Hay told HSJ sister title LGC that the city’s STP was focused on tackling NHS funding problems rather than a system-wide solution for health and care.

Later on Monday afternoon, Camden became the second rebel council to defy NHS England’s orders, putting the full draft version of the North Central London STP on its website.

The leader of Camden council, Sarah Hayward, criticised the STP process over its lack of transparency and a lack of focus on adult social care.

Explaining the decision to publish, Ms Hayward said there had been “no political oversight, and minimal public and patient engagement” in the process.

Waiting game for accelerated access review

The NHS has long acknowledged that it needs to speed up the process for approving the use of innovative drugs and treatments, so it was a little ironic that the latest blueprint to delivering on this aim was somewhat delayed.

The long awaited accelerated access review, originally due in the spring, estimates up to four years could be knocked off the approval and adoption process, which is some cases can take up to 12 years.

With so many vested and differing interests on the pitch, reducing the process by up to a third is huge ask. It will not be delivered without full buy-in from key players, and a relatively modest financial investment to establish a fit for purpose infrastructure.

Prime minister Theresa May has already told NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens not to expect an early Christmas present in the autumn statement, so it is hard to see where the latter might come from.

Moreover, securing harmonious working between the NHS, NICE and the pharma industry has also never been an easy task, especially in times of austerity.

The blueprint has been written but with the system focused on keeping the lights on, it remains to be seen if it has the bandwidth to put in the work required to deliver gains which may take some time to materialise.