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.

Full story in National Health Executive, 22 March 2017