HSJ’s roundup of Friday’s key stories and talking points

Private hospitals face price hit

Private hospitals could see a steep cut in their income from NHS funded services under draft prices proposed for 2016-17, Monitor has warned.

An impact assessment by the regulator of its early proposals for next year’s tariff says they would cut the nationally priced income of independent sector providers by 7 per cent.

For 90 per cent of NHS providers, the draft prices would change operating revenue by less than 2.5 per cent.

The projected impact on private providers is due to steep cuts in the draft prices for orthopaedic services, which make up a disproportionate amount of the independent sector’s NHS income.

Monitor had similar price changes in orthopaedics in their draft plans last year, but decided not to implement them because of “stakeholder concerns” – which you might remember as the unprecedented provider revolt over the 2015-16 tariff.

David Hare, chief executive of the NHS Partners Network, which represents private providers, told HSJ: “Our view is that nothing has changed since last year. There will still be question marks over the accuracy of those prices.”

Firm says CCGs broke the rules

Monitor is investigating a complaint by private provider Care UK that NHS commissioners in north east London broke rules around price competition.

The complaint follows Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, and Waltham Forest clinical commissioning groups awarding a contract for elective care for which Care UK is the incumbent provider.

The company said commissioners broke competition rules when they offered the contract to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust at prices lower than those agreed in the national tariff.

It said the use of price competition to achieve a price for services below the national price was a risk to the quality and safety of those services. Monitor’s investigation is ongoing.

The CDF ‘monster’

Talks are under way to identify high profile treatments to be removed from the cancer drugs fund in the coming months.

Several sources have told HSJ that NHS England is considering which drugs to remove in order to contain its spending on the fund, which pays for access to treatments otherwise not available on the NHS.

One source said the policy had created a “monster” by giving routine access to treatments which now have to be cut off. They also warned that a significant backlash was expected from the patient groups and drugs companies which will be affected by the delisting.