There is only an “outside chance” the overdue NHS long-term plan will be published this year, HSJ understands.
UPDATE: It was confirmed on Monday morning that the plan will not be published until the new year.
The plan – commissioned by the prime minister when she announced the NHS’s £20bn funding settlement in the summer – was initially expected to be published last month.
HSJ understands the plan is complete, but the political turmoil over Brexit has prevented it being fully reviewed by all branches of government, most notably the Treasury.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said in November the plan would be out in early December, and more recently health secretary Matt Hancock said it would be unveiled “this year”.
A source involved in the discussions told HSJ there was an “outside chance” the document would be published on Tuesday, but that there was a “higher than 90 per cent” likelihood of it being postponed to the new year.
If that happens, the plan will not be published before Parliament returns on 7 January.
The plan is expected to set out the priorities for the NHS over the next five years – which are covered by the £20bn funding settlement – and some targets for improvements over the next 10 years.
HSJ understands NHS England and NHS Improvement are expecting to issue planning guidance documents next week, and confirm a planning timetable, regardless of whether the NHS long-term plan is published.
A planning timetable sent to NHS chief executives in October said planning guidance including a “revised financial framework” would be published in early December, and local funding allocations, control totals, prices and other planning details in “mid December”, with initial plans for 2019-20 expected to be submitted on 14 January.
Updated on 14 December to include the latest information on the planning guidance publication; updated again on 17 December to confirm the long term plan would be delayed until the new year.
Information given to HSJ