The governments 'sustainability and transformation' scheme is impossible without capital investment
The government’s ‘sustainability and transformation plans’ (STP) for the NHS are unfeasible without an upfront capital investment of £9.5 billion, new analysis from the BMA has found.
Health managers across England have been asked to draw up STPs, in order to plug the gaps in health and care and make the service more efficient and, eventually, financially sustainable.
However, the BMA has found, using a series of freedom of information requests, that trusts have nothing like the capital required to deliver such an overhaul, particularly because capital funds are already being diverted into day-to-day spending as trust’s face gaping deficits.
BMA council chair Mark Porter commented:
“From the very beginning this process was carried out in near secrecy by rushed health and social care leaders trying to develop impossible plans for the future while struggling to keep the NHS from the brink of collapse.
“The clinicians who are expected to deliver this flawed revolution were not engaged and many staff have had little or no involvement.”
The medical union accuses the government of lacking the political will to invest in a lasting settlement for the NHS.
“The reality is that these plans have become a vehicle for £26bn of covert savings – yet another crippling blow dealt by a Government with a vicious austerity agenda and lacking the gumption to come up with properly funded solutions for a health service in crisis.
“There is clearly nowhere near the funding required to carry out these plans and it appears that NHS England and NHS Improvement have probably known that for quite some time.
“The STP project is built on the least stable of foundations. These plans are fast becoming completely unworkable and may have been a waste of time and effort in an NHS desperate for help.”
The government has demanded that NHS trusts find ‘efficiency savings’ in order to plug their funding gaps, but front line staff warn that the service can’t take any more.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.