Whichever of these arguments you subscribe to, there is little doubt that the government’s latest proposals will mean significant change for the NHS.
Draft plans were first published at the end of 2016. However, these seem to have bypassed both the public and majority of NHS staff. Part of the reason for this has been a lack of real transparency around developing the early STP proposals and their mind-boggling complexity.
Over the last year, RCN Yorkshire and the Humber has been busy trying to unpick and analyse the plans and the accompanying documents, to understand what the effect will be on patients and how they will impact on our nurses and healthcare assistants. This hasn’t been an easy task.
The three plans which cover the Yorkshire and the Humber region – Humber, Coast and Vale; West Yorkshire and Harrogate, and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw; have many things in common, not least that they are full of grand and laudable ideas, but short of any meaningful detail.
South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw has also been named as an early adopter Accountable Care System to deliver fast track improvements set out in Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View.
The plans set out a case for changing the way health services are delivered in order to better prevent ill health, by treating people closer to home and out of hospital wherever possible, making sure patients get the right care in the best place. At the same time, they also talk about the large financial deficit facing the NHS in the region and the need to address the ‘funding and efficiency gap’ in order to deliver care ‘more cost effectively within budget’.
It is noticeable that despite the critical role that nurses and healthcare assistants play in the delivery of care, there is little or no mention of nursing or the NHS workforce in the plans so far.
All of these issues are of concern to the RCN. Whilst we understand that discussions to shape STPs are still in their relative early stages, we want to ensure that however the plans develop, you, our members, are protected along with the important patient services you provide.
In the coming weeks and months we will therefore be working hard to get involved in these conversations as they develop to ensure that the nursing workforce has a voice at the top table.
To keep you up to date and informed as these plans develop, we’ll also be sharing information here, so please do keep an eye on this page.