The emerging world of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) brings with it some of the most challenging decisions yet for health and social care. In adopting new ways of working across organisational and regional footprints, it’s important to recognise and use those transformation skills already at our disposal as we work together to deliver change at pace and scale, says Chris Davies, NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit.
In order to meet the stringent financial balance required, STPs have had to consider much more radical solutions to how they shape health and care systems going forward. In many cases, plans include shifting services from acute providers into alternative settings, reconfiguring the estate footprint and driving integration across health and care (not forgetting input from the independent and voluntary sectors). As these plans mature, more radical decisions regarding funding and implementation are being taken.
This is where project management teams can, and do, play a critical role in changing systems. Project management in today’s NHS is already about a great deal more than Gantt charts, PIDs and Risks and Issues logs. While these processes remain vital, when it comes to successfully implementing change, project managers are required to wear multiple hats. They must understand how all aspects of health and social care systems work, what the clinical needs are, the public consultation requirements and how to align different parts of the system to achieve the desired outcomes.
To deliver our core responsibility of keeping programmes on track, we must also be a relationship manager, data analyst, and provide an objective and impartial view of the bigger picture throughout the process of change.
STPs are undoubtedly ambitious. The pressure to deliver change at pace and scale means the depth of support required from project managers will be significant. As new challenges emerge, we must use all the skills and knowledge at our fingertips to accelerate and deliver this increasingly complex agenda.
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