Sustainability and transformation plans may be attracting some cynicism, but the changes represent more than simply another reshuffle. By Adam Connelly

Sponsored comment from Hunter Healthcare

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Connelly adam

Connelly Adam

Adam Connelly

There is a great deal hanging on the success of the sustainability and transformation plans.

Creating a single strategy for the whole health economy, under a single leader, represents a significant shift. Initial reports suggest that around half of the footprints have turned to clinical commissioning groups for their lead role, seemingly as these organisations are more closely aligned with strategic planning and place based care.

For any STP leader, corporate knowledge of the system, relationships and politics are key attributes.

This has placed a higher emphasis on high level leadership in a system already struggling to appoint senior roles, which in turn increases demand on highly skilled interims and consultancy to fill the void.

Creating a single strategy for the whole health economy, under a single leader, represents a significant shift

At present, there are far more questions than answers around how this is going to look. There is no one size fits all, therefore STP leaders will need to be drawn from across the health and social care economy to best address the needs of their footprint.

This will inevitably have an impact on the different forms of governance that will arise, such as the local authority led Greater Manchester or the provider led North London.

It’s hard not to reflect some of the cynicism we are coming across about STPs, particularly the discontent from local authorities. However, with the combination of NHS England and NHS Improvement watching over STPs, this must be considered as more than just another reshuffle.

After all, we should welcome any opportunity to establish system leadership and place based commissioning as standard.

Adam Connelly is head of research at Hunter Healthcare