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Major council bosses chosen to lead ‘transformative’ NHS and care plans

The chief executives of two major English councils have been nominated to lead major ‘sustainability and transformation plans’ (STPs) across 44 patches that seek to revolutionise the country’s health and care system.

Sir Howard Bernstein, chief exec of Manchester City Council, and Mark Rogers, chief exec of Birmingham City Council and president of Solace, are amongst the eight leaders chosen to be at the helm of these looming “seismic changes” to the NHS and social care sector.

The STPs were created and outlined in NHS England’s planning guidance for the next five years. Under them, every health and care system will come together to create an “ambitious local blueprint” based on places, rather than relying on organisational autonomy.

The five pillars of STPs will be bringing local leaders together as a team, developing a shared vision with the local community, involving local government, programming coherent activities, executing against plan, and learning and adapting.

They are also mandatory if providers wish to receive a share of the Department of Health’s £1.8bn bailout fund for this year, as reported by PSE’s sister title, National Health Executive. This bailout cash forms part of the £3.8bn frontloaded by the government in the Spending Review.

Nominated leaders will oversee and co-ordinate the STP process in the next five years across 44 designated ‘footprints’. Their remits will vary greatly, with populations in these footprints varying from 300,000 in the west, north and east Cumbria to nearly three million people in Greater Manchester. Several of the five local areas within London are in line with county boundaries.

The majority of footprints fall in the midlands and the east, despite populations in London and the north being denser.

Rogers, who will lead the Birmingham and Solihull footprint, said: “I am pleased that through a natural consensus, my council and NHS colleagues across Solihull and Birmingham have shown faith and confidence in me to take and develop a system leadership role across our shared places.

“This will give me the opportunity to see if we can make some pretty seismic changes to the way we address the needs of local people at a time when quality, service models and finances are all under immense pressure. I look forward to working collaboratively with the many organisations who can – and must – act together and in harmony to improve our citizens’ lives.”

In forming these footprints, local areas took into consideration geography (including patient flow and travel links), scale (the ability to deliver sustainable and clinically sound health and care), financial sustainability and leadership capacity.

The other six leaders chosen to steer this process all come from clinical commissioning groups and NHS foundation trusts.


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