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Cheshire and Merseyside STP

A new vision for the future of health and care services across Cheshire and Merseyside was formally unveiled on Wednesday 16 November 2016. The draft Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cheshire and Merseyside, sets out how the health and care system can remain fit for the future and respond successfully to the growing demands that are being placed on it, alongside ambitious ideas to improve the health of people living and working in the region. The document  sets out a shared core purpose to ensure that the people of Merseyside and Cheshire become healthier than they are now and can continue to have access to safe, good quality and sustainable services.

This document and accompanying material can be downloaded from the download menu to the right.

Watch the following animation to learn more about why the STP was written and what it will achieve:

The following images explain why the STP is so important:


For any queries or comments about the STP please get in touch by emailing: 


What are Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs)?

They are the new strategic planning framework for local health and care economies in England. They are place-based, multi-year plans built around the needs of local areas rather than the activities of individual organisations.

STPs were announced in the NHS Planning Guidance of December 2015. They are intended to meet the following key challenges set out in the NHS Five-Year Forward View published in October 2014:

  • the health and wellbeing gap - the need to reduce demand on the NHS by addressing health inequalities and preventing ill health
  • the care and quality gap - reducing variations in quality, safety and outcomes through greater use of technology and innovation
  • the funding and efficiency gap - securing the long-term financial sustainability of the NHS while ensuring that additional funding is used to improve efficiency and transform services.

STPs are also intended to strengthen local relationships by requiring clinical commissioning groups, NHS providers, local authorities and other health and care services to work together in the 44 STP footprints to develop robust plans to transform how health and care services are delivered. STP footprints are based on natural communities, existing working relationships and patient flows.

Eastern Cheshire is part of the Cheshire and Merseyside STP - the second largest in England with 2.5 million people and 12 CCGs. Each STP is made up of a number of local delivery systems (LDSs). The LDS for Eastern Cheshire is Cheshire and Wirral. The purpose of LDSs is to enable organisations to collaborate on local challenges.

STPs are required to:

  • cover the full range of footprint partners including primary and secondary healthcare, adult social care and public health services commissioned and provided by local government
  • address how local partners will meet key national commitments including returning NHS organisations to financial balance, introducing seven-day services, achieving targets for cancer treatment and other clinical activities, investing in primary care and improving prevention.

The Cheshire and Merseyside health economy is expected to have a £999m shortfall by 2021 unless it can achieve the aims of its STP.

To meet the above requirements, the Cheshire and Merseyside STP has agreed to focus on:

  • reducing hospital demand and costs
  • improving patient experience and reducing unwarranted variation in access to and quality of services
  • improving health awareness and illness prevention
  • using new technology to improve patient care
  • improving ‘back office’ efficiencies (e.g. shared HR, legal and finance functions) and reducing waste.

STPs are the vehicles through which local areas will access NHS funding for transformation from March 2017. In 2016-17, the transformation fund is £2.3bn, rising to £3.4bn by 2021.

The November 2015 Spending Review set out a clear expectation that health and care would be integrated across England by 2020. Accordingly, the Spending Review required each area to have an integration plan by March 2017 - something that will need to be aligned closely with STPs.

Progress and deadlines


Finally, it is important to stress that STPs are not intended to replace local transformation programmes like Caring Together, which are already making important progress towards local integration of health and social care services. Rather, they are intended to allow partners to work together at scale and pace across a wider geographical area to add value by reducing ill health and establishing efficient, effective shared services.

More information?

Call Charles Malkin, Communications Manager, NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, on 01625 663824 or email

Click here for a detailed briefing paper by NHS Clinical Commissioners, the NHS Confederation, NHS Providers and Local Government Association.

The ongoing development of the Cheshire and Merseyside STP has been described in the following reports to Governing Body by chief officer Jerry Hawker:

See "Related Pages" links also.