Response to ‘The Puzzle of STPs in London’, King’s Fund report to the London Mayor

The King’s Fund published a report this week for the Mayor of London, on the progress of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) in the capital.

This response relates to a section of the King's Fund report that discusses changes to the future numbers of hospital beds in parts of the capital . The report states:

“Proposed cuts to hospital beds in some STPs have been dropped in recognition that these cuts are not realistic in the context of population growth and pressures on acute hospitals. All STPs are focusing on developing services in the community, including general practice and community health services provided by NHS trusts. They are also supporting moves to integrate health and social care services being led by borough councils and CCGs."

In line with the King’s Fund report, in NW London we do not think we will end up with fewer hospital beds in NW London over the next five years, and would not decrease numbers unless it is safe to do so.
While this is a change from the initial plan set out through our 2016 STP, the figures used were set back in 2012 as part of the Shaping A Healthier Future programme and were provisional and based on projected activity. 
We have always been committed to revising our initial projections for future hospital bed numbers in line with actual activity. Our latest analysis suggests that the number of beds in NW London has gone up slightly since 2012 and we expect the number of bed numbers to stay more or less constant for the next five years at least. All our health providers are committed to working together to ensure that patients are safely cared for, and make best use of all our resources, beds estate and staff across NW London.
Regarding Ealing and Charing Cross hospital’s in particular our STP made clear that there would be no substantial changes to either hospital until such time as any reduced acute capacity has been adequately replaced by out of hospital provision, making sure patient needs are met. NHS partners will work jointly with local communities and councils to agree a model of acute provision that addresses clinical safety concerns and expected demand pressures.
A great deal of what we set out in the STP has been achieved through the NW London health and care partnership, including  improvements in primary care and getting people out of hospital quicker once they are well enough and preventing people from becoming unwell in the first place. Examples of our achievements:
·        Worked with more people than ever before to proactively manage their diabetes thanks to our award winning diabetes programme
·        supported 1000s of patients to get home from hospital up to two days earlier, through joint working with our local authorities and
         the home support programme ‘Home First’
·        a dedicated 24/7 mental health crisis line, that anyone can call for support, every month this service receives 8000 calls
·        developed a radiology career framework, a national first to train and keep radiographers in NW London
·        GP appointments now available from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week     
·        launched a single NHS app, Health Help Now, to help people manage appointments, get advice and find the right local
         service that can help them
·        trained frontline staff to ‘make every contact count’, so members of the public are signposted to health and social care services
         that can help them
·        111, ‘Is my resident well’ staff guide and red bag schemes rolled out to help provide better support for those that live in a nursing
         or care home, when they become unwell
·        renewed training with the London Ambulance Service, district nursing and rapid response teams has helped over 100 more
         people a month receive care at home, rather than A&E
·        since 2015/16 agency spend has been reduced by £121m or 41% across all our trusts.

Plus many more schemes of work that are currently being developed and implemented.
The North West London health and care partnership includes 30 organisations including the NHS and six local authorities and associated partners across NW London.
More information on the partnerships plans can be found here.