Many constituents have been in touch with me about the NHS and Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

The NHS today helps more people to receive higher quality care than ever before. The Government is backing the NHS with an additional £10 billion per annum investment by the end of this Parliament and the employment of record numbers of doctors and nurses.

The Five Year Forward View, produced by the NHS itself, sets out its own vision for the future. Its vision is one where the NHS provides more care closer to home, prioritises prevention and empowers citizens with the tools and information to manage their own care.   In each of 44 local areas, commissioners, providers and local authorities have come together to decide how to improve services and realise this vision. Far from being secret, Sustainability and Transformation Plans were publicly announced by NHS England in December 2015. These plans are not about making cuts, but to ensure that increased resources for the NHS lead directly to better care for patients.

During a recent debate in the House of Commons the Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne MP, said:

Planning within the NHS is not new; an annual planning round culminates in December each year. As I have said, NHS England announced STPs publicly in its planning guidance published in December last year, and since then local STPs’ leads have been engaging locally, as they deem appropriate—there has been no secret. What is new is that for the first time in years different NHS bodies, with local authorities, have been working collaboratively together to develop these plans. The 44 local areas are submitting their worked-up plans to NHS England for consideration in October. The NHS will scrutinise these plans and make recommendations over which to take forward and prioritise for discussions with Ministers and for formal public consultation, which will follow. Implementation will take place once the feedback from consultation has been assessed, so that this implementation will begin from early next year, with timings dependent on each individual area’s specific proposals.​

First draft plans have been submitted to NHS England, who are scrutinising them and providing feedback, and a more formal process of local consultation is expected to begin later this year. Only plans which are ambitious, realistic and set out a clear case for how patients will benefit will be approved. The plans will then be published with full public engagement and consultation and no changes to the services people currently receive will be made without this. Furthermore, the Government is committed to ensuring full transparency and accountability about how the plans are being implemented.