The Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) gives a commitment to improving the quality of services in Lincolnshire, boosting the health and wellbeing of residents and bringing the healthcare system back into financial balance by 2021. Led by clinicians in Lincolnshire, the STP has been developed by all local NHS organisations with input from local government officers and discussion with patients and staff.
The plan follows on from the Lincolnshire Health and Care (LHAC) Case for Change report (published June 2016) which set out the challenges Lincolnshire health and care system faces from a rapidly ageing population, many with long term conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
The details published explain how the way healthcare is delivered in the county will need to change to meet the rise in demand for services.
The proposals set out in the plan to achieve this include:
- More investment in primary care and community services and more focus on prevention to keep people out of hospital
- A joined up health and social care service at a neighbourhood level where teams work together to support people, carers and families and care is coordinated
- Improving the effectiveness of services – reducing things like cancelled operations, delays in discharging people from hospital, waiting times for appointments and referrals
- Possible options to centralise some services where it will deliver better outcomes for patients
No final decisions have been made and any changes to hospital services will be subject to a full public consultation.
Commenting on the plan, Allan Kitt, Chief Officer of South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and lead for the STP, said:
This is a really exciting opportunity for Lincolnshire which we believe will transform our patients' experience of care in the county. The big shift will be in providing fully integrated health and care services in the community that support people much earlier on, before they reach crisis point and need to go to hospital.
There is genuine agreement amongst health and care organisations about how we should be moving forward, providing much more proactive personalised care to keep people welland healthy. For the first time we have a single plan to help us do this and we're already making progress in a numberof areas. The people of Lincolnshire deserve good quality care; we have a great opportunity now to overhaul the way our outdated services operate and provide care that is seamless and effective, where every pound spent delivers real benefit to our patients.
Lincolnshire's healthcare system will be overspent by £182m by 2021 if there are no changes to the way in which services are delivered. The plan sets out how Lincolnshire will achieve £130m of savings by 2021. These savings, supported by an assumed additional £52m in national transformation funding, will bring the NHS in Lincolnshire back into balance within the five year time frame.
The plan is the resultof 12 months of work by health and care organisations, building on a further two years of conversation through the Lincolnshire Health and Care Programme about the future of services in Lincolnshire. This is the first time that one plan has been published which sets the direction for the whole county with clear goals for how care will be improved.
The plan sets out how the total spend on health services in Lincolnshire is going to increase from £1.266bn per year (2016/17) to £1.4bn per year (2020/21). The biggest percentage increase in spending will be in primary care services. Primary care is health care provided in the community for people making an initial approach to a medical practitioner or clinic for advice or treatment. It includes GP services.
The plan includes a commitment to hold a public consultation in 2017 to get the views of residents on proposals for changes to urgent and emergency care, planned care and maternity and children's services. Manyof these services struggle to meet safety standards due to the shortage of key staff and proposals are likely to include plans to centralise some services andmove some other services much closer to home.
Andrew Morgan, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust and Chair of the System Executive Team, commented:
It has not been an easy process and we have had to make some difficult choices about how to prioritise spending in order to maximise the benefit to our whole population. We have looked at national best practice and we have listened to the views of our residents to come up with a high level plan. Now we want to continue that discussion and engagement as we move forward with delivering it. We are committed to being as inclusive and open as possible. We will listen to all contributions and use these contributions to influence the decisions we make.
A summary document of the STP, the full submission document and some frequently asked questions about the STP are all available on the dedicated website https://lincolnshirehealthandcare.org/about-the-stp/