News

22.03.17

BMA: Government must come clean about ‘cheap tricks’ on STP funding

The government has employed “cheap tricks” to mask its real intentions for sustainability and transformation plan (STP) funding, the British Medical Association (BMA) has claimed after it was revealed that promised investment for STPs in England would be spread over three years, rather than given up front.

In chancellor Phillip Hammond’s budget earlier this month, it was announced that £325m of capital would be made available to deliver STP plans – implying that money would be given to STPs immediately.

But the BMA argues that this figure was misleading, as the government’s budget document reveal the reality behind funds available for the 44 STPs, saying that the £325m investment would actually be spread over three years, with only £130m available this year, a figure that BMA deputy council chair David Wrigley has described as “paltry”.

“While the government’s U-turn on NI rates has dominated the headlines the chancellor appears to have got away with yet another cheap trick on health spending,” Wrigley said.

“Nearly two-thirds of the capital announced for STPs has vanished in an accounting trick and will not be seen for months or years – if at all.”

A BMA report earlier this year revealed that the enormous figure of at least £9.5bn was needed to get all of the STPs off the ground – and that the £325m put aside would only cover one STP, in South West London.

The most recent development will come as an extra dent to ambitions for STPs, as the amount of money is even less likely to allow health leaders to implement change.

“Speaking to Parliament Mr Hammond appeared to be clear that this money was for those STP projects ready to go ahead now and that the situation would be addressed again in the Autumn,” Wrigely went on, “but only a paltry amount remains and the £130m available will make little or no impact.”

He added that there was “nothing sustainable” about asking the health service to design its own future whilst ignoring immediate need, adding “there is nothing transformative about providing around 100 times less than the capital funding that these plans require”.

“This is the same government that regularly claims the NHS is fully funded and gave us a fictitious claim of having injected £10bn into the health service,” he said. “It is time the government is open and honest with the public and with those who work in our brilliant NHS – the health service cannot be forced to limp from one crisis to another with only sticking plasters to help. The NHS is in crisis and urgent action is required.”

NHE has contacted NHS England and DH or comment, but at the time of publication had received no reply.

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Comments

Dr Sarah Andersen   23/03/2017 at 12:18

I think the lack of media coverage about the STPs, and what the impacts will be, and could be, are startling. I have been expressing my views about negative effects of STP on delivery of an efficient health service and yet many people are entirely unaware of theses changes. I am a GP, and most of my colleagues in Brighton do not seem to be concerned about the wider impacts of the STPs, they are too busy working hard, and trying to implement them in good faith.

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