Two-year tariff could ‘stabilise’ NHS planning

Calculator finance

Proposals to move to a multi-year tariff could help stabilise NHS planning during a difficult period of transformation, the head of the NHS Confederation said on Tuesday (2 August) – but only if they are well implemented.

Stephen Dalton's comments follow publication of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s policy proposals for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 national tariff, which would see national prices set until 2019/20 – a breakaway from the traditional one-year planning cycle.  

The proposals – which the national bodies are now consulting on – include four new best practice tariffs, the introduction of new innovation and technology tariff, and changes to local payment rules for mental health.

Moves to revise currencies and base them on phase three of the HRG4+ design, and the removal national prices for consultant-led outpatient follow-up attendances, have also been put forward.

Confed members can view the view an at-a-glance guide to the proposals.

The organisation has long championed the move to multi-tariff prices and argued that greater stability, at least in pricing regulation, could be key in unlocking bolder reform to the NHS payment system. 

‘Fraught’ annual process

“We are pleased national bodies have recognised the case for a multi-year tariff which, if implemented well, could contribute to stabilising NHS planning during this difficult period of NHS transformation,” said Confed chief executive Stephen Dalton.

“This is an opportunity to move away from the fraught annual tariff process and instead consider bolder reforms to the NHS payment system.”

Have your say

The Confederation will be issuing a response to the proposals and is keen to hear the views and concerns of organisations across its membership.

To have your say and contribute to the Confed’s whole-system response, please email Paul Healy, senior economics adviser, at

Find out more

Discover more about the 2017/18 national tariff and get up to speed with HRG4+ and multi-year tariffs.

Access the engagement document from NHS Improvement’s website.

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