Sustainability and transformation plans will cost at least £9.5bn to successfully implement, but healthcare leaders lack the cash, an investigation has found.
An analysis of projected capital demands from 37 of the 44 regions, by the British Medical Association, found the money is needed for building projects and investment in community facilities, required to deliver the plans.
More than half of STP regions told NHS England they need more than £100m up front to make these changes, while some, including Manchester, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and West Yorkshire, have said they need more than £500m.
The investigation also suggests hospitals alone need more than £2bn to pay for outstanding ‘significant’ or ‘high risk’ maintenance needs.
In a statement, the BMA said healthcare leaders ‘are unlikely to have anything like the capital required’ to deliver the plans.
Much of the £4.8bn given to the NHS by the Department of Health has been used to cover hospital deficits, with Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, telling the Public Accounts Committee last month a quarter of the capital budget (£1.2bn) had been used ‘to prop up revenue’.
Meanwhile, Department of Health finance director David Williams admitted that raids on the capital budget were likely to continue.
Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair of council, called the figures ‘concerning’ as ‘record numbers of trusts and GP practices’ have said they are already struggling to cope.
He said: ‘The NHS is at breaking point and the STP process could have offered a chance to deal with some of the problems that the NHS is facing, like unnecessary competition, expensive fragmentation and buildings and equipment often unfit for purpose, but there is clearly nowhere near the funding required to carry out these plans.’
‘These plans are fast becoming completely unworkable and have instead revealed a health service that is unsustainable without urgent further investment, and with little capacity to ‘transform’ in any meaningful way other than by reducing the provision of services on a drastic scale.’