The Department of Health has confirmed measures that will make it more difficult for providers to block the national tariff payment system.

  • Two-thirds of providers or commissioners must now object in order to block national tariff proposals
  • “Share of supply” objection threshold to be removed
  • DH recognises opposition to proposals, but says there must be “financial stability in the system”

After a consultation process, officials will remove the “share of supply” objection threshold, and raise the proportion of commissioners or providers that must object from 51 per cent to 66 per cent.

The consultation had suggested the proportion should rise to between 66 and 75 per cent.

The consultation report, published today, says 82 per cent of respondents objected to the threshold being raised, while 65 per cent were opposed to the removal of the share of supply element.

Those objecting were mainly providers, while those supporting the changes were mainly commissioners.

The changes are an attempt to prevent a repeat of the situation seen earlier this year, in which an unprecedented wave of provider objections was able to block tariff proposals and leave Monitor and NHS England unable to set official prices before the start of 2015-16. The initial proposal for this year was rejected by 37 per cent of providers, accounting for 75 per cent share of supply for the relevant services.

The report concluded: “While we recognise there will be opposition to our proposals, we need to maintain financial stability within the system.

“Our proposed changes to the objection mechanism should be seen as part of a package of measures which seek not only to establish a firmer footing, but which also may allow for the process of tariff setting to be carried out across a number of financial years.

“However, we are clear that providers should not have to object to national tariff proposals. Instead it needs to be set in a transparent way which is fair and consistent across the system.”