An ambitious plan to transform health and care across Somerset has been launched.
Somerset’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) is one of 44 across the country and aims to deliver high quality care and more prevention of illness while addressing major financial pressures linked with shortages of key staff across all areas of health and social care.
It has been developed and published by the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Somerset County Council, Primary Care and NHS providers, and sets out a way forward for the next five years. Its publication marks the start of wide-ranging discussions with local people before firm proposals are drawn up.
The plan puts accessible, well-coordinated and joined-up services close to people’s homes at the centre of its vision.
Somerset’s ageing population means more people are living longer and managing multiple complex illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. These are costly to support and require more integrated care from a range of different organisations.
At the same time, Somerset has higher than average levels of obesity and lower levels of activity which together with more people moving to Somerset will create an increasing demand for health and care services.
Health and social care are struggling to recruit staff across the board. This requires us to think and work differently. All the organisations with the Somerset ‘footprint’ are finding it difficult to keep spending within existing budgets. However, even if more money was found, there are still not have enough qualified staff to continue to work in the same way.
The plan looks to ‘flip’ the current system from one where time, effort and money are focussed more on treatment, to one where the emphasis is on prevention, avoiding illness and helping people to stay independent and in control of their health and wellbeing.
It will mean the entire system – from GPs and hospitals, to mental health and social care workers – working more closely together to provide easier access to care and support closer to home. It will mark a move away hospital-based care towards care and support provided in people’s own homes and communities.
Somerset STP Senior Responsible Officer, Dr Matthew Dolman, said: “Doing nothing is neither desirable nor sustainable, and that’s the case across the country. The health and care system in Somerset needs real change which puts prevention at its heart.
“We haven’t kept pace with the changing demands and this is the opportunity to address that and focus on keeping people healthy, independent and in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. Where people do need hospital treatment, we want to make sure they can get home as quickly as possible.”
Projections show that the ‘do nothing’ option would lead to a £600m deficit across the system by 2021.
“It is essential that health and social care are financially sustainable”, added Dr Dolman. “If we continue spending beyond our means we will struggle to maintain good, safe services.
“Our plan is as challenging as it is ambitious, but we are all working together and determined to make it happen with the input and support of local people.
“This is just the start of a process. It sets out a way forward but one we are committing to discussing and developing with patients, carers and the wider public.”
The Somerset STP has been published prior to its discussion by the CCG board on 17 November. It will also be discussed by Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Committee on 21 November and will be considered at all the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust boards in November and December.
It is the intention of all parties involved to involve and engage with patients, carers, key organisations who support health, wellbeing and social care as well as our own staff and wider communities. This will commence shortly with details of opportunities to discuss and comment on the plan being publicised..
Paper copies of the plan can also be requested from the CCG by:
Telephoning: 01935 385240
Or writing to: Somerset Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)
NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group
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