Our view on the 2017/19 NHS planning guidance

22 September 2016

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published this year's operational and contracting planning guidance, which, for the first time covers two financial years, to provide greater stability and support transformation. This is underpinned by a two-year tariff and two-year NHS Standard Contract.

Welcoming the release today of the planning guidance, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said:

“This year’s planning and contracting round was one of the most difficult and frustrating in NHS history. We therefore welcome the desire of NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve and refine this year’s process. The much earlier publication of the national planning framework allows frontline organisations to start their planning much earlier in the year, although this will bring some challenges.
 
“A two year planning and contracting period will help make the best use of resources. The clarity on key elements of the NHS landscape like the tariff, CQUINs, business rules and the standard contract will all help and are to be welcomed. We recognise the hard work of NHS England and NHS Improvement, which have worked at high speed, to get us here.
 
“The tariff is sensible and will help providers - together with the continuing £1.8 billion support – to eliminate or significantly reduce deficits. This year's quarter 1 results has shown, despite the huge pressure on providers from rising demand and the stretch on social and primary care, that extra investment in providers delivers concrete results for patients.

“We also welcome the recognition that the NHS is in transition from a service focussed on individual organisations to one focussed on local health and care systems.

 
“We also welcome the recognition that the NHS is in transition from a service focused on individual organisations to one focused on local health and care systems. The guidance sets out helpful, but appropriately flexible, guidance on how these two year 2017/19 operational plans interact with Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
 
“There are some aspects that need further exploration over the next weeks but these should not detract from the positive steps taken so far to help the NHS manage a very challenging financial challenge and plug the gap. In particular, we need to be sure that numbers of small but unfunded commitments are not added later in the year. This is critical as the gap between what the NHS is being asked to deliver and the funding available remains. But this guidance provides a helpful basis to enable the NHS to now plan how to meet the more challenging times we face.”

 

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