Following recommendations from independent experts, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today called for a greater role in providing oversight of the NHS’s future plans in the capital and has set out six key assurances needed from Government to ensure Londoners get the best healthcare possible.
A report published today by The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust shows that greater city-wide leadership is needed to successfully implement the five local NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans (STPs) for London, which set out proposals for the future of health and care services.
Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships are plans for the future of health and care services in England. Five STPs have been developed in London, covering North West, North Central North East, South West and South East services.
In addition, the King’s Fund report outlines risks presented by the proposals including the potential impact on hospital capacity.
It recommends that the Mayor, in his capacity of chair of the London Health board, should play a leadership role and provide oversight of the STPs to ensure there is proper coordination across the capital and that the plans meet the needs of all Londoners.
Sadiq Khan has championed the NHS since the outset of his Mayoralty and today confirmed his willingness to provide the strategic leadership required. But, given the concerns raised in today’s report, combined with a potential gap of £4.1billion in NHS finances in London by 2021, the Mayor warned that before he will give support for any changes to NHS services in the capital the Government must provide key assurances.
The six assurances the Mayor requires to give his support to the STPs are:
- Patient and public engagement – Proposals must show credible, widespread and ongoing patient and public engagement including with marginalised groups.
- Clinical Support – Proposals must demonstrate improved clinical outcomes, widespread clinical engagement and support, including from frontline staff.
- Impact on health inequality – The impact of any proposed changes to health services in London must not widen health inequalities. Plans must set out how they will narrow the gap in health equality across the capital.
- Impact on social care – Proposals must take into account the full financial impact any new models of healthcare, including social care, would have on local authority services, particularly in the broader context of the funding challenges councils are already facing.
- Hospital capacity – Given that the need for hospital beds is forecast to increase due to population growth and an ageing population, any proposals to reduce the number of hospital beds will need to be independently reviewed to ensure all factors have been taken into account. Any plans to close beds must be an absolute last resort, and must meet at least one of the NHS’ ‘common sense’ conditions1.
- Sufficient investment – Proper funding must be identified and available to deliver all aspects of the STP plans.