Get involved in NHS transformation plans, nurses urged

Nurses need to be ‘knocking on the door’ to ensure their voices are heard in NHS transformation plans, an RCN congress fringe event heard.

Nurses need to be ‘knocking on the door’ to ensure their voices are heard in NHS transformation plans, an RCN congress fringe event heard

RCN head of employment relations Josie Irwin spoke about the costs of STPs 

The session heard how it was vital for nurses to get involved in local sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which aim to bring together health and social care in 44 localities in England.

The STPs began last year and will run until 2021. They are part of the NHS Five Year Forward Plan to improve health and well-being, quality of care and achieve financial sustainability.

In November, the RCN expressed 'serious concerns' regarding the manner in which STPs were being developed, warning of an 'unnecessary lack of openness and transparency' in most cases.

The audience at the fringe event heard how the RCN had been lobbying hard to get into key decision-making meetings.

Service integration

Members of the audience also expressed concern that they had only heard of STPs in their area by attending RCN branch meetings.

Panellist and RCN head of employment relations Josie Irwin said: ‘We do potential in STPs for both integration and better working together and collaboration.

'But we are absolutely clear that for STPs to join up services that will require a cost. So, there needs to be an honesty about what these costs are.’

The RCN asked NHS England about two years ago to ensure they involve staff with decisions on STPs that affect them. It has also insisted it is involved in any discussions on job design changes.


RCN policy manager Mark Platt, a member of the panel, likened STPs to the former strategic health authorities, which covered regional areas.

RCN London south east member Sam Newman reported that he had seen some success in his area by lobbying alongside the council to protect existing services.

‘In one of the initial consultations there was talk about reducing one of the orthopaedic centres from three or four to two, but with help from the local authority they are now looking at it again…so using your local councillor can be a good route to go down,’ he said.

Ms Irwin said: ‘I think whether we come to STPs from a conspiracy theory that they are all cutting funding or whether we see the opportunities for change or transformation, the key thing is for us all to be involved, knocking on the door and ensuring we are involved.’

Read the RCN's policy on STPs

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