James Evison 18 November 2016

NHS savings plans not realistic, claims CIPFA

Cash-saving strategies developed under the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) do not have enough detail to prove problems will be tackled, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

One of the core findings was the majority of plans included an assessment of social care pressures, but did not set out a joint approach between councils and health partners to tackle the problems raised.

The report on the STPs – which aim to show how local services will evolve and become sustainable over the next five years – claims some of the plans ‘fail to set out a credible case’ for delivering saving plans.

CIPFA analysed nine STPs of the 44 being developed across England as part of attempts by the NHS to close the financial gap of £30bn by 2020.

But the institute claimed the plans failed to ‘quantify the risk’ of additional pressures occurring on the NHS – and therefore savings not being delivered. The report said contingency planning must be included to ensure the plans were achievable.

It also stated that saving targets were over-optimistic – as savings were not shown as a percentage of relevant spend.

The report found there was more scope for STPs to make better use of integrated working,

CEO of CIPFA Rob Whiteman said: 'In order to improve care for local communities, STPs will have to make tough choices to deliver meaningful change.

'However, it is of vital importance that STPs fully assess whether the actions proposed can actually meet savings targets and boost the quality of services by doing robust financial planning.

'STPs are our best shot at making our health and social care sustainable for future generations. Therefore, local leaders and NHS providers must do all they can to ensure that the proposals are deliverable.'

For more on STPs visit The MJ (£).

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