As part of its planning process, NHS England has required all localities to prepare Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) by the end of June.

“STPs will be place-based, multi-year plans built around the needs of local populations. They will help ensure that the investment secured in the Spending Review does not just prop up individual institutions for another year, but is used to drive a genuine and sustainable transformation in patient experience and health outcomes over the longer-term. STPs are not an end in themselves, but a means to build and strengthen local relationships, enabling a shared understanding of where we are now, our ambition for 2020 and the concrete steps needed to get us there.” (NHS England).

There are 44 STPs being prepared across the NHS and our footprint covers Northumberland, Tyne and Wear. There are further ‘toe-prints’ within the larger area, and Sunderland has been paired with South Tyneside and tasked with developing a combined plan for the Local Health Economy.

The STP is a high level document and much of the detail has yet to be worked through, but we continue to represent General Practice in these important discussions, both to influence the model of care, and to ensure we access funding for the sector where appropriate. STP funding amounts to £2.1bn per year at present and rises to £3.4bn by 2020/21.

National guidance is very clear that the development of primary care at scale is key to the future direction of the NHS, variously stating “as a minimum, we expect that all [STPs] will consider how to deliver primary care at scale” and “STPs should set out plans [for] … most practices [to] work collaboratively”. Sunderland is already well positioned in this regard, and is ideally placed to take advantage of further opportunities.

We’ll continue to keep you updated in future newsletters.