NHS Providers opposes tariff objection mechanism changes

11 September 2015


NHS Providers has today submitted a response to the Department of Health’s (DH) consultation on changing the national tariff pricing objection thresholds, following member feedback opposing the proposed changes.

The ultimate answer lies in ensuring that providers are commissioned and paid appropriately for safe and high quality care

The DH proposed to amend the objection mechanism as part of the statutory consultation on the national tariff to:

  • remove the possibility for the objection mechanism to be triggered by 51% of providers by ‘share of supply’
  • increase the threshold for the objection mechanism from 51% of providers and commissioners (by number) to between 66% and 75%.

In response, NHS Providers said the proposed changes will have a material impact on frontline NHS providers and will serve to remove the only formal opportunity available to NHS provider leaders to raise concerns about their ability to deliver the right quality of care.

Quote mark Our members tell us that they want a deeper, better and earlier dialogue with NHS system leaders

NHS Providers and our members will continue to work collaboratively with the DH, NHS England and Monitor to improve the way the national tariff is set and the way the sector is consulted on the proposals. However, the proposed changes to the objection mechanism will weaken this crucial engagement and dialogue at a time when it must be stronger than ever to meet the financial challenges the NHS is facing. After the difficult 2015/16 tariff round, we need to work together transparently and collaboratively in order to avoid placing significant further risk on provider finances.

NHS Providers chief executive, Chris Hopson, said the fact that the mechanism was triggered in relation to the 2015/16 tariff was not a symptom of the mechanism being wrong, but a reflection that the initial proposals were undeliverable and represented an unacceptable risk to the quality of patient care. He added: “Our members tell us that they want a deeper, better and earlier dialogue with NHS system leaders to create a tariff that, on the one hand, provides safe and effective care and, on the other, recognises the financial challenge the service is facing. They have told us they believe these proposals make that dialogue more difficult and they therefore oppose these changes.”