Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England boss Simon Stevens have announced £325 million of capital investment for local projects that will help the NHS to modernise and transform care for patients.
Speaking at the King’s Fund, Mr Hunt and Mr Stevens gave the green light to local capital investment schemes in 15 areas of the country, with the largest sums being used for urgent care in Dorset, surgery in Greater Manchester and cancer care in Cumbria.
Patients will see this investment deliver faster diagnosis for conditions like cancer, easier access to mental health care, expansion of A&Es, shorter waits for operations, and more services in GPs surgeries.
This round of funding will support Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) across the country, with plans including:
In Greater Manchester, up to £50m will be made available to help hospitals deliver significant improvements in urgent and emergency care by concentrating services in four hub sites across the city, expected to save around 300 lives each year in general surgery alone.
In Cumbria, £30m – £50m will be used to improve access to chemo and radiotherapy by establishing a brand new cancer centre, complete with new equipment at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.
In Derbyshire, up to £30m will be invested to create an ‘Urgent Care Village’ at the Royal Derby with GP services, a frailty clinic and mental health services to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place, first time, and avoid going to A&E unnecessarily.
This initial tranche of funding has been targeted at the strongest and most advanced schemes in STPs.
All plans have been developed locally.
The funding was secured in the Budget in March when the government also committed to make further capital investment available in the forthcoming Autumn Budget.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested that the investment will play a key role in the NHS going forward.
“This funding will support strong local plans to help the NHS modernise and transform care for patients. 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.”
And NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens also acclaimed the new financial arrangement.
“Today we’re firing the starting gun on the first wave of major service upgrades and care redesign 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. For staff, we’re putting our money where our mouth is in backing these practical plans developed by doctors, nurses and local NHS leaders.”
Stevens also indicated the intention of the healthcare authorities to extend this approach still further.
“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.”
The strongest STPs have performed well across indicators in three broad areas: hospital performance, patient-focused change and transformation.