STPs risk ‘starving services of resources’

Ministers have been urged to sort out the ‘mess’ of the NHS STPs (sustainability and transformation plans) after BMA analysis found they must slash £22bn from health and social care costs in five years.

The savings figures were found in papers from 42 of the 44 areas across England.

Officials in each area have been asked by NHS England to predict the financial holes STPs face in their budgets in 2021 and set out how they can close them.

A separate survey by the association reveals that most doctors (64 per cent) had not been consulted on STPs, despite many plans requiring significant changes to services to balance their books.

BMA council chair Mark Porter said he had serious concerns about the ‘impossible’ scale of savings demanded by STPs by an ‘unrealistic Government’ which had promised no further funding.

‘Improving patient care must be the number-one priority of these plans,’ Dr Porter added. ‘There is a real risk that these transformation plans will be used as a cover for delivering cuts, starving services of resources and patients of vital care.’

Dr Porter added that it was ‘extremely concerning’ that most doctors have not been asked about their STPs.

‘The STP planning process has turned into a mess. It is crucial that any plans about the future of the NHS must be drawn up in an open and transparent way and have the support and involvement of clinicians and the public from the outset. They have the potential to generate more collaboration and the long-term planning of services based on local need.’

For full story see BMA 21 November 2016