Fifteen projects embedded in local Sustainability and Transformation Parternship plans across the country are to get a share of a £325 million cash injection from the government to modernise care for patients.
Speaking at the King’s Fund, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the green light had been given for the local capital investment schemes, with the largest individual sums being streamed into urgent care in Dorset, surgery in Greater Manchester and cancer care in Cumbria.
In Greater Manchester, up to £50 million will be handed over to help drive “significant improvements” in urgent and emergency care by concentrating services in four hub sites across the city, in a scheme expected to save around 300 lives each year in general surgery alone, according to NHS England.
In Cumbria, £30 million - £50 million has been designated to widen access to chemo and radiotherapy via the establishment of a brand new cancer centre with new equipment at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle while, in Derbyshire, up to £30 million will underpin the creation an ‘Urgent Care Village’ at the Royal Derby with GP services, a frailty clinic and mental health services, to help avoid unnecessary visits to A&E.
“Today we’re firing the starting gun on the first wave of major service upgrades and care redesign which will benefit people living in counties, towns and cities across England,” said Stevens. “This is the first down payment of much needed investment in modern equipment and NHS facilities.”
Health bosses say the initial funding stream has been targeted towards the strongest and most advanced schemes in STPs, and that further capital investment for local projects is expected to be announced in the Autumn Budget.
“This is a small step in the right direction,” said Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation. “Given that the Conservatives have promised £10 billion of extra capital for the NHS in England, we should expect a much more serious capital injection in the Budget statement later this year.”
He also welcomed the endorsement of STPs, as “they will be critical in changing the way care is delivered all over England,” but cautioned that the current model is “relatively immature and fragile”.
“This is a time to encourage and nurture partnership working and for the centre to do all it can to support those who are seeking to foster collaboration at local level - without it, services will continue to struggle to meet growing demand and patients will suffer. It is in everyone’s interest that every STP succeeds.”
Earlier this year an analysis by the British Medical Association concluded that the NHS will need at least £9.5 billion of capital funding to pay for STPs drawn up in 44 ‘footprint’ areas.
STPs are eventually to be produced by every health and care system in England to show how local services will evolve and become sustainable over the next five years.