Jan Sobieraj: What the sustainability and transformation plan means in practice

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With the launch of the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) for Lincolnshire last week I thought it would be useful to talk about what this means for ULHT staff, our patients and our organisation in this column.

The STP is a national requirement set by NHS England and NHS Improvement. All 44 areas of the country were asked in January to submit a plan.

Lincolnshire’s vision for 2021 is to achieve really good health for the people of Lincolnshire with support from an excellent and accessible health and care service delivered within our budgets.

Services are now safe in 2016, but if we don’t change them, they are unlikely to be safe in 2021.

Keeping all services as they are is not an option, since many of them don’t meet clinical guidelines and national standards, and we struggle to recruit in some cases.

Quality and safety of care is our top priority. We want to provide local services wherever possible and centralise services onto fewer sites when necessary.

We want to deliver high quality and safe services so patients are always cared for by highly skilled, compassionate staff. We want to prevent unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital.

But those who need specialised, emergency treatment will get safe, high quality care at the best hospital, perhaps not always the nearest hospital.

Those patients who do need our services will have shorter stays and be discharged home more quickly, to where they want to be.

To lead the transformation of our own services, ULHT is developing its own five year plan called the 2021 strategy. This will form our part of the STP and includes the following six areas of work:

  • Improving the quality of services
  • Being more efficient and productive
  • Developing clinical services
  • Increasing the amount of local planned care
  • Reviewing our workforce
  • Engaging our staff

These changes will lead to better health outcomes, quicker access to tests and treatments, fewer cancellations, fewer deaths and better services for the people of Lincolnshire.

We also want our services to become centres of excellence, so that our patients choose us for their care and our staff are proud to work for our organisation.

As a trust we have been developing our clinical strategy over the past two years, and many of our staff and patients have had the chance to get involved in what our services will look like.

Our strategy helped shape Lincolnshire Health and Care (LHAC).

The STP and 2021 strategy are the natural evolution of both our clinical strategy and LHAC .

Understandably, there are specific aspects of the STP that raises questions and where people want more detail. This is only the draft plan, which will be refined following engagement with staff and the public over the coming months.

We’re encouraging our staff, patients and the people of Lincolnshire to get involved in the proposals. We really want you to be involved in shaping the future and for your voice to be heard.

We know there has been a long period of uncertainty in which we have talked about making significant changes to services and careers.

The STP and our own 2021 plan sets out a path to achieve this.

No final decisions have been made and any changes to hospital services will be subject to a full public consultation.

This is likely to cover urgent and emergency care, women’s and children’s services, mental health and learning disabilities and some planned care.

More information on the STP can be found here.

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