Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



2020/21 NHS Planning Guidance sets tough targets

NHS England and NHS Improvement has published the 2020/21 NHS Operational Planning Contracting Guidance with some tough and ambitious targets around A&E performance, bed occupancy waiting lists, carbon reduction and estates planning. 


2020/21 will be a critical year in the development of system working as every part of the country moves towards becoming an Integrated Care System by April 2021. During 2020 all systems regardless of their level of maturity are expected to put in place capital and estates plans at a system level, which will become the main basis for capital planning, including technology.


General and acute bed occupancy levels must be reduced to a maximum of 92%. 

The peak of open bed capacity must be maintained, which may require reducing length of stay, improving Delayed Transfers of Care (DToC) and admission avoidance programmes.  


Outpatients must be redesigned to reduce face-to-face attendances by one third by 2023/24 will tangible progress expected this year through the use of technology, such as video consultations. A national trajectory for delivery of outpatient transformation will be published in the National Implementation Plan. 


There is a renewed commitment to recruiting more doctors and nurses and confirmation that the People Plan will be published in March/April. There is also confirmation that the NHS has failed to spend over 70% of its £200m Apprenticeship Levy.


Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, says: “While this guidance will enable Trusts to plan for 2020/21,we still need to see the detail of the final people plan, the long term plan implementation plan, the results of the clinical review of standards, and the new NHS England and Improvement operating model and oversight framework. We also need a full multi year capital settlement and multi year education, training and public health revenue budgets. These will all follow over the next few months. Taken together, we will then have the complete new strategic framework the NHS frontline needs to underpin the Long Term Plan.


Other stories related to the 2020/21 NHS Operational Planning Guidance can be found here:

Planning guidance sets out expectations for sustainable development 

Proposals to ease the capital planning process confirmed

Download the full guidance document