NHS transformation plans may be used as cover for cuts, says BMA

Controversial plans put forward as a way of improving the health service in England and ensuring its sustainability risk being used as a cover for cuts and running down the NHS, the head of the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.

The doctors’ union says the 44 regional sustainability and transformation plans(STPs) amount to £22bn in cuts by 2020-21 to balance the books, which will have a severe impact on patient care.

Dr Mark Porter, the BMA council chair, said: “Improving patient care must be the number one priority for these plans. Given the scale of the savings required in each area, there is a real risk that these transformation plans will be used as a cover for delivering cuts, starving services of resource and patients of vital care.”

NHS England is expected to find £22bn in efficiency savings by 2020-21 but its finance directors and independent experts have suggested the target is unattainable, as the health service struggles with unprecedented demand and understaffing.

Full story in The Guardian 21 November 2016