To lead the local implementation of the Five Year Forward View, 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) footprints were created in England in December 2015. London has five STP footprints: South West London, South East London, North West London, North Central London and North East London.
Despite the emphasis of the 2012 NHS reforms on competition, the focus for the NHS has been more on “place-based commissioning”: collaboration between providers to meet the challenges facing local services. This is a significant culture shift but could result in increased integration of the health and social care sector. The STPs were created to bring together local stakeholders to consider the needs of the local population and how they can best be met. The key stakeholders involved in the plans were Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, and local government. They were tasked with considering how to meet the needs of their local populations while achieving financial balance, under three headline areas: improving health and wellbeing, improving quality and developing new models of care, and improving efficiency of services.
The STPs have not directly addressed services which are commissioned by NHS England, but their plans will have an effect on all services, especially as more services are planned along a patient pathway.
The LDCs will be assessing the potential impact on dental care and oral health of the STPs and will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that dentistry in London is recognised as a priority. There are several issues addressed by the different STPs that primary care dentists can support, such as improving prevention, improving quality of life for older adults and engaging with the digital revolution.
The STPs have already gone out to consultation on changes to prescribing in many areas of London, which potentially impact on NHS dental practices. Restrictions to the issuing of prescriptions by GPs and other clinicians will put more pressure on dentists.
The STPs published their plans in October last year, though they are still subject to change. Further information about STPs can be found on the King’s Fund Website, NHS England website and British Medical Association website.