FINANCE: A North West mental health trust has secured the price cut recommended for acute trusts from its local commissioners, trust board papers show.

These papers show that the 5 Boroughs Partnership Foundation Trust has agreed a 1.5 per cent “tariff deflator” with its clinical commissioning groups.

The agreement contrasts with the1.8 per cent tariff reduction for non-acute providers proposed by NHS England. The arm’s-length body set the acute sector a lower 1.5 per cent tariff cut because it says they face greater costs as they respond to the Francis inquiry.

5 Boroughs Partnership’s three main CCGs have however decided to use the “local freedom” granted to them by NHS England to agree price cuts of less than 1.8 per cent.

The trust’s March board meeting papers say that the settlement they received “reflects the investment required to implement the Keogh recommendations”.

Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s medical director, led a review into care quality at 14 trusts in England with unusually high death rate indicators. His subsequent report identified common challenges facing the wider NHS.

The board papers name NHS England – which commissions the trust’s specialist mental health services – as the only commissioner which had not agreed to the smaller cut.

According to the papers, the trust “refused to sign up to the deflator offered by NHS England and discussions have been escalated”.

“There is a strong view that [the differential deflator] results in further inequality across sectors within the NHS and fails to support the drive towards parity of esteem,” the trust adds.

When asked for clarification about what “escalation” referred to, a spokeswoman for the trust pointed to the “collective approach being presented by the NHS Confederation and Foundation Trust Network”. Both these umbrella groups have opposed the difference in price tariff reductions between the acute and non-acute sectors.

While 5 Boroughs Partnership say they are refusing to sign up to the NHS England settlement, in its budget for 2014-15 the trust has assumed contracts with the body will attract a 1.8 per cent deflator.