The Government has announced it will deliver £2.6bn to sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) by 2022-2023, as set out in the Budget 2017.
The figure is part of an extra £3.5bn package of capital funding for NHS England’s estates, which comes on the top of the £425m provided at the Spring Budget 2017.
Boosting NHS properties sales
The Budget 2017 document said that ‘the £3.5bn will allow the NHS to increase the proceeds from selling surplus NHS land and buildings to at least £3.3bn, almost doubling the scale of investment available to the NHS and unlocking land for housing’.
It said: ‘It will be accompanied by private finance investment in the health estate where this provides good value for money.
‘It will be complemented by work to review and improve the rules that inform trusts’ use of capital funding, to help make sure that they can maintain their facilities most effectively.
‘Taken together, these measures will help hospitals and commissioners to bring down running costs and invest in high quality patient care.’
The package, spread over the next five years, includes:
– £2.6bn for STPs for improvements in facilities
– £700m to support the most underperforming trusts, ensure they operate in a safe environment and deliver high-quality care to patients
– £200m to support efficiency programme, which will help reduce NHS energy bills, and fund technology to release time for patient
The Government will be ‘provisionally affecting the first 10% of the £2.6bn to the highest bids from STPs with the strongest potential to help them meet future demand and develop local clinical and financial accountability.’
Meeting patient demand
If it is too early to assess whether STPs are bearing fruits, the funding will nevertheless ‘help local areas deliver more integrated care for patients and better meet demand for services’.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Chancellor Philip Hammond acknowledged that, ‘despite extra funding, the NHS remains under pressure’.
He said: ‘Either we embrace the future, seize the opportunity or reject change and turn inwards.
‘We choose the future. We choose to run towards change to prepare our people to meet the challenges ahead.
‘Our NHS is one of our great institutions and essential part of what we are as a nation. We will always back it.’