The “Five Year Forward View” will be delivered through sustainability and transformation plans which are currently being developed by clinical commissioning groups in collaboration with local authorities and providers. NHS England expects that all STPs will be published, although in some areas discussions are already taking place.
I am led to understand that in Wycombe we should expect no dramatic changes and possibly no publication of a strategic plan. Does my hon. Friend agree that public confidence would be much enhanced by the clear articulation in public of a strategy for meeting the “Five Year Forward View”?
I agree with my hon. Friend, and I will try to give a clear answer. NHS England is determined that all 44 areas will publish their plans shortly. For those that have not already done so, publication will take place after the formal checkpoint review at the end of October. Areas are working to different timescales, but the plans will all be published by the end of November. For the avoidance of doubt, that includes the STP for Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West.
The NHS “Five Year Forward View” called for a radical upgrade in prevention and public health. How does the Minister square that with the Government’s subsequent cuts to public health, including £200 million in-year cuts and further cuts expected by 2020?
The STP process is an attempt to upgrade our public health and mental health provision and cancer outcomes. Every STP will be expected to provide an assessment of local public health priorities and the timetable for progress towards that.
Wantage community hospital in my constituency has recently closed because of the threat of Legionnaires’ disease, and it will not reopen until we have finally concluded consultation on the sustainability and transformation plan—if it reopens at all. This consultation has been delayed, and that naturally worries my constituents. Will the Minister join me in urging Oxfordshire to get on with consulting on this very important plan, so that we can have a reasonable discussion?
I will join my right hon. Friend in doing that. I am not familiar with the specifics of the Wantage case, but it does not sound right that it is an ongoing thing that is not fixed quickly.
May I congratulate the Minister on his appointment to the Front Bench, as well as the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood), on hers? I am sure that they will do a terrific job in their posts.
As a type 2 diabetic, I am very concerned about the fact that local clinical commissioning groups are just not providing information on preventive work against diabetes. Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that diabetes will be referred to once these plans have been published?
I will confirm that. There is a national diabetes plan, as the right hon. Gentleman will be aware. Diabetes is one of a number of long-term conditions in which these plans are charged to deliver improvements, and it would not be acceptable for a plan to be signed off or completed unless progress on diabetes had been made.
When the Minister looks at new treatment options in the forward view, will he consider the example of Velindre NHS Trust in south-east Wales, which treats 1.5 million cancer patients every year and is now using reflexology, reiki healing, aromatherapy, and breathing and relaxation techniques to alleviate anxiety, pain, side effects and symptoms? If that was more widely spread over the health service in England, cost savings and patient satisfaction would increase.
The STP process is locally led, not led from the centre, but I would expect clinical judgments of the type mentioned to be made if they could be confirmed on the basis of scientific and trial-based evidence.
Central to the aim of the five year forward plan for the NHS is a sustainable health service in which all patients receive the right care at the right time in the right place. With that in mind, can the Minister tell me what action he is taking to address the problem of delayed hospital discharges, which have risen by 20% so far this year? That amounts to an additional 926 people every day condemned to stay in hospital longer than is medically necessary.
First, may I welcome the hon. Lady to her post and wish her luck in the new job? There has been an increase in delayed discharges in England over the past year. Only a part of that increase is due to difficulties in the integration between social care and the NHS—a large part of it comes from within the NHS itself—but it is not uniform across local authorities. Indeed, many local authorities are improving in this regard. What is very clear is that those making the most progress the most quickly are those that have gone furthest in integrating social care and healthcare.