Long Term Plan
Diet and nutrition play a key role in the long-term health of the nation, and the treatment and management of a wide range of health conditions. The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) for England features specific commitments to focus on obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as promising more support for prevention, primary care and mental health services. It is clear therefore, that dietitians, as nutrition experts working across all areas of healthcare, should play a central role in the delivery of the LTP.
Unfortunately, dietitians are not specifically mentioned within the initial LTP document, but there will be many opportunities to influence and ensure dietitians are front and centre in the delivery of the LTP.
NHS England have also released a specific implementation plan which outlines in more detail how they believe the LTP will need to be rolled out in its first three years.
Integrated Care Systems
One of the most significant changes outlined within the LTP is the plan to develop “Integrated Care Systems” across England;
“The NHS and our partners will be moving to create Integrated Care Systems everywhere by April 2021, building on the progress already made. ICSs bring together local organisations in a pragmatic and practical way to deliver the ‘triple integration’ of primary and specialist care, physical and mental health services, and health with social care.”
ICS already exist in a number of areas, and have developed from the existing Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) that already exist across England. The roll-out nationally of ICS will represent the next evolution of how NHS and wider health services are provided and it is therefore vitally important that dietitians engage with the creation and development of ICS in their area. If you are not already engaging with your local STP/ICS now is the time to do so.
NHS England have more information on how ICS came about here. Find out more information about ICS, including those areas already working on creating theirs, on the NHS England website. Read more about how the structure of ICS including the different geographical layers by reading this briefing. It’s also worth bearing in mind the NHS People Plan, which outlines NHS England’s plan on leadership and supporting and growing the workforce.
What is the BDA doing?
We are also continuing to engage with different workstreams within the Long Term Plan, such as the implementation of the Diabetes Prevention Programme or Health Education England's work to increase the number of people training to become AHPs and dietitians in particular.
We will also continue promoting opportunities for dietitian to engage with the Long Term Plan and publicly promoting the role of dietitians in key areas such as Primary Care as first contact practitioners.
What we want members to do
At the moment, 18 different areas have an ICS, covering half of England. We can expect all areas to have one soon. If you are in one of the 18 areas where an ICS already exists and are not yet engaged you can find out more information about how to get involved and who to contact using the link above.
If you aren’t in one of these areas, your area will be developing an ICS plan at the moment, building on the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership which will already exist for your area. Keep an eye out for communications relating to the development of your ICS and how to get involved. All healthcare organisation should also be involved, be that a CCG, a Trust or a local authority. Ask your manager about how your team or department are going to be involved in the ICS.
If you are working on a project or new service that delivers against the aims of the LTP, consider whether it might make a good case study.
You have nothing to lose by engaging with this process, but may find that dietetics is not considered when it should be if you don’t!
- Find out more about the Long Term Plan and Integrated Care Systems from the independent King's Fund
- Read the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer's various papers on the role AHPs can play in the Long Term Plan