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Government promises £325m to fund regional plans over three years


9 March 2017

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The Government has promised £325m to help implement regional plans to overhaul health and social care across England as part of this year’s budget.

In his speech to Parliament yesterday, Chancellor Phillip Hammond said the Government ‘recognises the progress that local NHS leaders have made’ in developing sustainability and transformation plans.

As an ‘important part of the NHS’s commitment’ to deliver better care for patients, he said the Government would be investing £325m over the next three years.

The Government has promised £325m to help implement regional plans to overhaul health and social care across England as part of this year’s budget.

In his speech to Parliament yesterday, Chancellor Phillip Hammond said the Government ‘recognises the progress that local NHS leaders have made’ in developing sustainability and transformation plans.

As an ‘important part of the NHS’s commitment’ to deliver better care for patients, he said the Government would be investing £325m over the next three years.

He said that the money would be directed to the plans with ‘the strongest case to deliver real improvements for patients and to ensure a sustainable financial position for the health service’.

He added that another round of plans would be considered in the autumn, ‘subject to the same rigorous value for money tests’.

He said: ‘Investment decisions will also consider whether the local NHS area is playing its part in raising proceeds from unused land, to reinvest in the health service.'

However, a BMA analysis last month found that STPs need at least £9.5bn of capital funding to succeed.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, added that the £325m is ‘unlikely to go far enough’.

The Chancellor also announced another £2bn over the next three years to fund social care and a further £100m to implement a GP triaging system in A&E departments.

Dr Porter added: ‘The crisis in the NHS doesn’t stop at the hospital door – our A&E’s are struggling because of an overstretched system. Having GPs in A&E won’t reduce admissions – if anything this could have the effect of attracting more patients to hospitals.

‘The government also needs to explain how it will fund and recruit GPs to work on site at hospitals when there already aren’t enough to meet the needs of the public.

‘Many are already working in practices with permanent vacancies which they are unable to fill, despite government promises at the last election to recruit 5,000 more doctors into general practice.’

The opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the Conservative party ‘has taken a sledgehammer to public services’ since coming into power.

He said: ‘The budget didn’t provide the necessary funding now for the crisis in the NHS, which the BMA reckons, needs an extra £10bn.

‘It didn’t provide the funding necessary to end the state of emergency in social funding now, which needs £2bn a year to plug the gaps according to the King’s Fund. That is not met by £2bn over three years. The money is needed now.’

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