The Department of Health (DH) and NHS England have finally revealed that 15 high-performing STP areas will be given a share of the £325m capital investment, to support local projects, as promised in the chancellor’s Spring Budget.
Speaking at the King’s Fund, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England CEO Simon Stevens gave the go-ahead for the extra funds – the most significant of which will be used for urgent care in Dorset, surgery in Greater Manchester and cancer care in Cumbria.
This latest tranche of funding has been targeted at the strongest and most advanced schemes in STPs, with the plans rated for their high performance across indicators in hospital performance, patient-focused change and transformation.
Up to £50m will be made available in the Greater Manchester area to help hospitals deliver significant improvements in urgent and emergency care by concentrating services in four hub sites across the city. This change is expected to save around 300 live in general surgery alone.
In Derbyshire, up to £30m will be invested to create an ‘Urgent Care Village’ at the Royal Derby with GP services, as well as implement improvements to the mental health system to ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place, first time.
“This funding will support strong local plans to help the NHS modernise and transform care for patients,” Hunt said.
“A measure of success of these transformation partnerships is that people can see and feel improvements being made in their local area – there are already excellent examples of this across the country and this money will allow them to go further and faster.”
NHS England’s boss Simon Stevens added that today marked the organisation, “firing the starting gun,” on the first wave of major service upgrades and care redesigns which will benefit people living in counties, towns and cities across England.
“For patients, it’ll mean easier GP appointments, modern A&Es, and better cancer and mental health care,” he explained. “For staff, we’re putting our money where our mouth is in backing these practical plans developed by doctors, nurses and local NHS leaders.
“This is the first down payment of much needed investment in modern equipment and NHS facilities, with more promised in the Autumn and beyond. Today is proof positive that when you back the NHS with investment, both patients and taxpayers see the practical benefits.”
NHS Confederation also welcomed the cash, which is a “step in the right direction” and the government’s endorsement and commitment to STP schemes.
“Given that the Conservatives have promised £10bn of extra capital for the NHS in England, we should expect a much more serious capital injection in the Budget statement later this year,” said Niall Dickson, NHS Confederation’s CEO.
“Capital is going to be needed as new and different services are developed, not least through investment in digital technology which will transform the way care is delivered.”
The announcement of new money for STPs also comes on the same day that DH’s finances revealed that capital investment had fallen for the third year in a row.
Dickson was also critical of the system of rating individual STPs, saying that whilst there was a case for setting a baseline to measure future progress was relatively crude.
“It may make sense to incentivise those who are most advanced, and set a baseline for future progress but it would be a mistake to stigmatise partnerships that are at an early stage in their development,” he added. “There will be good reasons why some areas are progressing more slowly and it’s vital we give them the support they need, rather than point the finger.
“The STP 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,” Dickson concluded. “It is in everyone’s interest that every STP succeeds.”
Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund, said that for STPs to be successful, capital funding is needed to support the transformation of health and care services.
“Today’s announcement is very welcome, and should be seen as a first instalment of the much larger capital investment promised in the Budget and by the prime minister in the election campaign,” he added.
The East Midlands STPs who are receiving money from the fund are:
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland STP
- The STP has been given £30m – £50m to improve mental health and hospital services for patients across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The new investment will pay for the development of a 15 bed inpatient unit at Glenfield General Hospital that will bring specialist mental health provision together with other services so the NHS is better equipped to support more children and young people with severe mental ill-health. University Hospitals of Leicester will benefit from the investment to fund an expansion of intensive care beds.
- £10m – £30m will be invested to improve health and care services across Derbyshire. A large share of the money will pay for an expansion to the emergency department at Royal Derby Hospital, creating space for 37 more minor injury beds, 10 emergency bays and additional resus facilities. The extra money will also allow the hospital to redesign space so that mental health assessment, GP care and out of hours services can all be housed in one place. £5m – £10m will pay for a new, integrated facility that will bring community services, outpatient clinics, testing and diagnostics and specialist rehab services together in one place.
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire STP
- Investment of £5m – £10m which is expected to improve and expand access to primary, community and social care. A further up to £5m capital award.
Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton STP
- Between £1m – £5m investment in primary care hub.
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