Hospitals get £1.8billion windfall for sustainability and transformation

Sustainability and Transformation Fund will give NHS the resources it needs as part of the Five Year Forward View to sustain services

Hospitals across England are to share a £1.8billion fund aimed at helping to enhance services for the future.

The money will help challenged hospitals to achieve financial balance, while focusing on changing the way they provide high-quality care for patients, Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said.

This will allow hospitals to focus their efforts on making the NHS a truly seven-day service, offering the same excellent world-class care every day of the week

This helps fulfil the NHS’s own plan for the future, which the Government promised to fund at the election with an additional £10billion by the end of the parliament.

The Transformation Fund, which will be allocated dependent on hospitals meeting a series of strict conditions, will give the NHS the time and space it needs to put transformation plans in place. This will make seven-day services a reality for patients and will meet the ambitions of the NHS Five Year Forward View.

The Government is committed to the values of the NHS, and in the Spending Review in November, the Chancellor confirmed the £10billion for the NHS’s future plan. The £1.8 billion, part of a £3.8billion front-loaded funding boost for next year, is designed to help trusts reduce their deficits and allow them to focus on transforming services to deliver excellent care for patients every day of the week.

Hunt said: “NHS staff across the country are already doing their bit to deliver excellent and safe care for patients and this funding will enable them to focus even further on improving quality for patients while making every penny count.

“Trusts are expected to have a tight grip on finances and investment will be dependent on them meeting a number of strict and non-negotiable conditions set out by NHS Improvement, NHS England, and the Department of Health.”

These conditions include developing plans and reporting regularly on progress towards achieving the efficiencies outlined by Lord Carter as part of his review into NHS productivity; and setting out a clear and credible plan for achieving seven-day services for patients throughout the country by 2020.

Trusts need to look at longer-term transformations to meet changing patient needs over the coming years

Sanctions will be included as part of the funding to ensure hospitals comply with the measures.

The funding will be broken down into two parts. A proportion will be distributed to all providers of emergency care, linked to demonstrating initial progress against the conditions and the setting of agreed control totals. A second element will be used to target providers that can deliver additional efficiencies and improvements. Both elements will put trusts in a stronger financial position to make sure patients benefit from a world-class NHS for decades to come.

Hunt said: “This government is committed to the values of the NHS, which is why we’re investing £10billion in its own plan for the future, including £6billion upfront by next year.

“We’re offering trusts help to improve their financial position and transform services for patients based on that planned investment, subject to strict conditions. This will allow hospitals to focus their efforts on making the NHS a truly seven-day service, offering the same excellent world-class care every day of the week.

Jim Mackey, chief executive designate of NHS Improvement, added: “The NHS is dealing with some significant challenges at the moment. This funding gives NHS providers the hope and possibility of doing things they have been unable to do this year: balance the books and deliver good emergency care performance.

We’ve rightly decided to deploy a meaningful chunk of next year’s hard-won NHS funding growth to help get hospitals back on their feet, and in return patients and taxpayers will expect a return to fundamental performance standards and financial discipline

“We will be working with them to ensure they get back to the levels of performance the NHS should expect and its patients deserve. Alongside this, trusts need to look at longer-term transformations to meet changing patient needs over the coming years.

And Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “We’ve rightly decided to deploy a meaningful chunk of next year’s hard-won NHS funding growth to help get hospitals back on their feet, and in return patients and taxpayers will expect a return to fundamental performance standards and financial discipline.”

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