Government plans for a major overhaul of the NHS could cost health services in Kent and Medway £75 million, it has been claimed.
According to the British Medical Association, the costs associated with long-term reforms being implemented under what are called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) paints “a very worrying picture.”
The accusations have been firmly rejected by the government and NHS England.
The BMA says that in total, at least £9.5 billion is needed in capital funding across the country to successfully deliver the plans.
Kent and Medway trusts told NHS England that they would need an alarming £75m in capital funding in order to deliver the structural changes envisaged - on top of millions of pounds needed for a backlog of other repair work.
BMA South East regional honorary secretary, Dr John MacKinnon, said the plans were becoming unworkable.
“With NHS budgets severely strained, funding from capital budgets is often used to prop up day-to-day running costs in the NHS.
"The reality of what is needed to implement “transformation” plans is unachievable if the government does not provide the long-term investment desperately needed.
“The plans are fast becoming completely unworkable and have instead revealed a health service that is unsustainable without urgent further investment and with little capacity to ‘transform’ in any meaningful way other than by reducing the provision of services on a drastic scale.”
Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been developed by NHS and local government leaders in 44 parts of England.
The plans offer a chance for health and social care leaders to work together to improve care and manage limited resources.
They are geared towards improving services and treatments for patients in the face of growing demographic pressures.
“The plans are fast becoming completely unworkable” - BMA South East regional honorary secretary Dr John MacKinnon
There have been fears the plans could lead to the downgrading and possible closure of some hospitals.
However, one Kent trust has already ruled that out. The East Kent NHS trust said its STP would not mean the closure of any of its hospitals and the creation of a “super hospital” on one site.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We totally reject any so-called analysis suggesting mass closures of services - these plans are about local clinicians and health leaders improving cancer care, transforming mental health provision and delivering better access to GPs.
“Any changes in this vein will have to be based on clear evidence that they deliver better care for patients, and will be subject to robust scrutiny by NHS England before being finalised.”