NHS organisations to develop twin plans for 2016/17


All NHS organisations in England will be required to develop two separate but interconnected plans in the new year, detailing the strategies for their local health and care system and their own organisation.

The stipulation is one of nine 'must-dos' for every local system in 2016/17 detailed in the NHS planning guidance for 2016/17 – 2020-21, published on Tuesday (22 December).

Other must-dos include secondary care providers delivering efficiency savings in line with the Carter review, complying with agency spend rules, getting “back on track” with access standards for A&E and ambulance waits, and requiring providers to publish annually their avoidable mortality rates.

As part of the planning process, NHS bodies will need to develop a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for their local health and care system, covering the period October 2016 to March 2021, and a plan by organisation for 2016/17. The organisational plan will need to reflect the emerging STP.

Key points

The planning guidance sets out steps to deliver a sustainable, transformed health service. It includes the key priorities for the system plus the business rules and incentives that will support delivery.

The NHS Confederation has produced a briefing summarising the key points for members.

‘Fundamental change’

“The spirit of this guidance signals a fundamental change of direction to the way the health and care sector operates,” NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster said on Tuesday.

“The era of focusing on organisations and their specific regulator is over. The move to place-based planning with a focus on collaboration and joined-up services will be a challenge to the national bodies and the NHS – one that we must embrace for the benefit of the people we serve.”

View the full media statement.


A more detailed timetable and milestones will be in the technical guidance published in January.


Publish planning guidance

22 December 2015

Publish 2016/17 indicative prices

By 22 December 2015

Issue commissioner allocations, and technical annexes to planning guidance

Early January 2016

Launch consultation on standard contract, announce CQUIN and Quality Premium

January 2016

Issue further process guidance on STPs

January 2016

Localities to submit proposals for STP footprints and volunteers for mental health and small DGHs trials

By 29 January 2016

First submission of full draft 16/17 Operational Plans

8 February 2016

National Tariff S118 consultation

January/February 2016

Publish National Tariff

29 March 2016

Boards of providers and commissioners approve budgets and final plans

By 31 March 2016

National deadline for signing of contracts

31 March 2016

Submission of final 16/17 Operational Plans, aligned with contracts

11 April 2016

Submission of full STPs

End June 2016

Assessment and Review of STPs

End July 2016

Find out more

Access the planning guidance in full from the NHS England website.

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