NHS Providers consultation response: 2016-17 standard contract
NHS Providers welcomes that financial sanctions against the core quality standards in the standard contract have been suspended in 2016/17 for those providers that have signed up to sustainability and transformation funding (STF). These financial sanctions have a material impact on many of our members and we welcome that it is recognised removing sanctions will have a positive impact in helping return the provider sector into balance. However, we still do not support the principle behind fining providers to improve performance or change how services are delivered. We would ask that NHS England gives serious consideration regarding the effectiveness of withholding funds to improve quality and question whether it should continue with the fines regime in 2017/18
More broadly in this response we outline three key areas that need to be addressed regarding contracting policy:
1. The need for consistency of approach between the national contracting system and the direction of national policy
2. The need for greater detail on how a dual STF/fines system will work - as well as a need to reassess the perceived link between retaining funds and improving provider performance
3. The need to improve engagement with the sector regarding policy affecting contracting
In a final section we also outline our views and feedback on a number of the more detailed aspects of the draft 2016/17 standard contract.
Our full response can be downloaded below.