The most advanced sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) will received an additional £325 million, chancellor Philip Hammond said during his Spring Budget speech.
Both social care and health received some financial attention in Hammond’s Spring Budget on Wednesday, amid concerns about a growing crisis in the NHS.
However, the plans are already being criticised for being too little to late, with the biggest single line item £2 billion for social care over the next three years.
Amid growing concerns that the Sustainability and Transformation Plans – viewed as key to knocking the NHS organisationally and financially into shape by 2020 – are veering off course, Hammond reasserted the Government’s commitment to the scheme.
“We recognise, too, that in addition to the funding already committed, some of those plans will require further capital investment,” he said.
“So the Treasury will work closely with the Department of Health over the course of the summer as the STPs are progressed and prioritised.”
Hammond said a small number of STPs will be ready before the Autumn budget, to which the Government will commit a further “£325 million of capital to allow the first selected plans to proceed”.
In Autumn, a further “multi-year capital programme to support implementation of approved high quality STPs” would be announced, he said.
The budget itself allocates an additional £390 million over three years to STPs.
How much of this will trickle down into transformation part of plans, and specifically digital transformation, is unclear.
NHS digital funds have a history of being raided to fund other projects, with concerns growing that the latest such scheme, the digital exemplar programme, could face a similar fate.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health admitted in a Commons’ Public Accounts Committee hearing that it has been raiding the Sustainability and Transformation Funding to plug revenue gaps for struggling trusts.
Other announcements regarding the NHS include:
- An additional £2 billion for social care over three years, which will “help to free up beds by easing discharge of elderly patients”, Hammond said.
- £120m capital available this year for up to 100 new “triage projects” at English hospitals in preparation for next winter.