The vast majority of NHS providers have accepted NHS England and Monitor’s offer of a ‘voluntary’ tariff for 2015-16, it has been announced, but the country’s biggest teaching hospital trusts have rejected the deal.

Among those who rejected the offer were all 10 members of the Shelford group, which are the country’s largest teaching hospital trusts. Those that rejected the deal have been told they will remain on 2014-15 prices, but will not be eligible for commissioning for quality and innovation payments worth up to 2.5 per cent of contract income.

A total of 211 out of 241 NHS trusts and foundation trusts (88 per cent of all NHS providers) has opted the pricing authorities’ offer.

The group that rejected the deal is comprised largely of major teaching hospitals and specialist trusts, including many of the best-known organisations in the NHS. It includes, for example, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children FT, Moorfields Eye Hospital FT, and University College London Hospitals FT.

Providers that have not affirmatively opted in to what has been called the “enhanced tariff offer” will continue on 2014-15 prices. This is known as the “default tariff rollover” option.

The “voluntary” option offered trusts:

  • a reduction in their headline savings target from 3.8 per cent in the originally proposed tariff, to 3.5 per cent;
  • an increase in the proposed “marginal rate” for specialised services from 50 to 70 per cent; and
  • a corresponding increase in the marginal rate for emergency admissions.

NHS England and Monitor have said those trusts that “roll over” current prices will not be eligible for CQUIN payments.

The pricing authorities made the offer two weeks ago, after official tariff proposals for next year were scuppered by objections from providers accounting for three-quarters of tariff funded services.

A significant number of providers only came to a decision on whether to adopt the voluntary option very late in the day, with the deadline set by the national bodies passing yesterday.

It is estimated that the “voluntary” tariff would cost commissioners up to £500m more than the rejected proposals on a national basis.

The final NHS standard contract will be issued next week, together with an updated version of the dispute resolution process for 2015-16, and more detail on administering both tariff options, the national bodies said.

Updated: Majority of providers opt for 'voluntary' tariff option