The future of funding for highly specialist treatments in various hospitals has been thrown into uncertainty after the Department of Health decided to stop providing a £62m budget that supplements it.

NHS England is set to begin discussions about the future of the budget for 2014-15.

An NHS England spokeswoman said “discussions remain open” between the DH and NHS England “as to whether this funding will be available in the future”.

HSJ understands the DH informed the 16 trusts that received a share of the fund in 2013-14 of its decision just before the end of the financial year.

A finance director at one of the trusts in receipt of the funding said the timing of the decision had not given trusts enough time to factor the cut into their budgets for 2014-15.

He said: “To be informed about this change in funding so close to the year end means that it will be very difficult for us to make the necessary changes in 2014-15 to achieve our forecast financial outturn.”

A DH spokeswoman said funding was axed because the department approach to research and development aimed to be “fair to all trusts across the country”. “This has been communicated to the relevant chief executives,” she said.

The NHS England spokeswoman said it was “still providing” some funding, while working with Monitor to improve the tariff payment system for specialist providers. She said discussions about the funding in 2014-15 would “commence shortly” and that it would “not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time”.

A spokesman representing 10 London trusts that describe their £50m share of the £62m as “Project Diamond” said they will continue to count the funding in their budgets, despite the DH’s decision.

He said: “Over the last five years the DH, and more recently NHS England, have recognised the deficiencies in the specialist tariff and have sought to remedy this by making interim funding available pending a wider review of the tariff.

“This review aims to make the tariff sufficiently sensitive to ensure that the costs of highly specialist work is properly recognised and reimbursed.”


ProviderFunding (2013-14) (£m)
University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust9.6
Barts Health Trust9.1
Royal Brompton and Harefield Foundation Trust8.1
Imperial College Healthcare Trust7.7
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust7.7
Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust2.9
King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust2.6
Sheffield Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust2.2
Oxford University Hospital Trust2.1
St George’s Healthcare Trust2.1
Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust1.8
Royal Free London Foundation Trust1.7
Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust1.5
University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust1.4
The Royal Marsden Foundation Trust1.0
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust0.4