11 Feb 19 – Introduction to the Long Term Plan

The new Long Term Plan is an odd hybrid of strategy, innovation, specific clinical target and legislative hybrid, which – despite its grand title – feels like a bit of a stopgap document, holding its breath for other publications and wider political events.

  • Strategically it demonstrates a deepening commitment to new models of care (such as Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks) place-based care and prevention. For example, all of England will be covered by Integrated Care Systems by 2021. And NHS funding could in some circumstances be used to deliver public health work.  
  • Innovations featured include the right of all patients to get online or phone access to a GP and a commitment for all trust to move to full digitisation by 2024.
  • Clinical targets focus mainly on a few specific areas – such as cancer, maternity and mental health – and include ambitious milestones such as helping 380,000 more people get therapy for depression and anxiety by 2023/24
  • Legislative pushback includes ‘asking the government to rip up key parts of the Lansley Act on competition’ (HSJ), including via ‘the creation of a joint commissioner/provider committee in every integrated care system’

Commentators have tended to draw attention to two larger forces outside the Long Term Plan’s control which run the risk of making or breaking it. One is Brexit, with all its implications for the workforce that is expected to deliver this vision. The other is the much anticipated Green Paper on Social Care, which will set the care framework within which the Long Term Plan’s vision for treatment will stand or fall.

Please find attached a full length and summary version of the plan, as well as a more visual guide produced by Carnall Farrar.

This article also drew on the following pieces:

HSJ on the legislative dimension (paywall) – https://bit.ly/2TVhmye

The King’s Fund with detail on the Plan and the other documents which will follow – https://bit.ly/2QzZ1oB

Nuffield Trust on the workforce issue – https://bit.ly/2Cqsrk4