News story

Securing an NHS fit for the future: health economies to receive expert help

Eleven financially challenged health economies in England are to receive expert help with strategic planning to secure sustainable quality services for local patients.

Monitor, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority have agreed to fund a series of projects to help groups of NHS commissioners and providers work together to develop integrated 5-year plans that effectively address the particular local challenges they face.

As part of the annual planning round, all NHS organisations are being urged to plan over a 5-year period in future as part of a concerted effort to tackle the long-term financial and operational challenges facing the system.

The 11 areas have been chosen on the basis that they will most benefit from external support in the first few weeks of the new financial year, and potential suppliers are now being invited to tender for the work.

Responsibility for delivering strategic plans remains with the individual commissioners and providers. The appointed supplier will act as a critical friend, seeking to bring together all partners in the health economy and testing whether the organisations are undertaking their long-term strategic planning in the most effective way.

Suppliers will be appointed at the end of March and will begin a programme of work lasting around ten weeks across four workstreams:

  • a diagnosis of supply and demand
  • solutions development and options analysis
  • plan development
  • implementation

NHS England’s Chief Financial Officer Paul Baumann said:

We are investing resources now to help organisations across these health economies to plan effectively. The health economies identified are those where we believe that this immediate support will have the greatest long-term impact, providing significant positive benefits to patients and taxpayers in the future.

Relationship managers will be available to each local partner in the specific health economy to clarify the process and answer any further questions.

The 3-step health economy selection exercise involved quantitative and qualitative analysis of finances, governance and quality issues by the three national partners.

The 11 health economies are:

  • South West London
  • North East London
  • Cumbria
  • Eastern Cheshire
  • Staffordshire
  • Mid Essex
  • Cambridge and Peterborough
  • Leicestershire
  • Northamptonshire
  • East Sussex
  • Devon
Published 17 February 2014