STP funding plans fail to materialise

The vast majority of agreed STP (sustainability and transformation plan) proposals should be implemented by 2021, NHS leaders have said, but no formal plans for the necessary capital funding are in place.

NHS England will outline the latest details of agreed plans and some explanation of capital funding available at the end of this month in the Five Year Forward View Delivery Update – five months after the STP plans were initially supposed to be submitted by each of the 44 footprint area, BMA News has learned.

In the chancellor’s budget last week it was revealed that £325m would be made available for the first, and most successful, STPs to get started – an amount that could be swallowed up by the capital requirements of a single STP, in south-west London. England has 44 STPs.

The chancellor said more capital may be made available in the Autumn statement but did not clarify how the £9.5bn capital costs identified by the BMA would be funded.

It is understood that NHS Improvement and NHS England are working with the Department of Health to identify priority expenditure for 2017/18 and the need to develop further proposals for consideration for the Autumn statement.

BMA council chair Mark Porter said: ‘What are people supposed to start working with this year if most projects are only to be funded by 2020/21?

‘These plans require significant upfront capital with new facilities in place, if they are to achieve their aims. NHS England’s welcome new patient care test for hospital bed closures should be extended to all service reconfigurations.’

Full story from the BMA, 15 March 2017