Niall Dickson: £325m for STPs "a small step in the right direction"

Niall Dickson

Responding to the announcement of £325 million in extra funding for Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:

“This is a small step in the right direction.  Given that the Conservatives have promised £10 billion of extra capital for the NHS in England, we should expect a much more serious capital injection in the Budget statement later this year.

“We also welcome this endorsement of the STPs – they will be critical in changing the way care is delivered all over England.

"Capital is going to be needed as new and different services are developed, not least through investment in digital technology which will transform the way care is delivered.

“The decision to rate individual STPs is a mixed blessing. While there is a case for setting for a baseline to measure future progress, we are concerned that the measures at this point must be relatively crude. It may make sense to incentivise those who are most advanced, and set a baseline for future progress  but it would be a mistake to stigmatise partnerships that are at an early stage in their development. There will be good reasons why some areas are progressing more slowly and it's vital we give them the support they need, rather than point the finger.

“The STP model is relatively immature and fragile – this is a time to encourage and nurture partnership working and for the centre to do all it can to support those who are seeking to foster collaboration at local level – without it, services will continue to struggle to meet growing demand and patients will suffer. It is in everyone’s interest that every STP succeeds."

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