Trust news: Tariff squeeze on orthopaedics put on hold – for now

Revised NHS England tariff proposals have been put out for statutory consultation with an expected major reduction in payments for orthopaedics procedures, as reported in the Hospital Consultant & Specialist last November, put on hold for now.

The new tariff is expected to be introduced on a two-year framework from 2017-18, with a limited price review in the second year, in a move that NHS Improvement suggests will bring more “certainty” to providers.

NHSI, which has taken over duties in the area from the now defunct Monitor, acknowledges that “orthopaedic prices as published may not be sustainable for providers as they would introduce a large reduction in funding which may put providers at risk.”

It is now “considering options to limit financial volatility for providers and commissioners” from the planned cuts.

The calculations will be made on the new HRG4+ phase 3 model, which NHS Improvement says offers a more fine-grained set of estimated costs that “would mean that providers are more accurately paid for the care they provide.”

However, NHSI acknowledges that its tariff is drawn up using 2011-12 data, noting that it will take two years to develop and test a new method for calculating prices based on current rates.