Provider bulletin: 13 April 2016

In this edition: contracting round update; building quality and efficiency; new whistleblowing policy; improvement directory and transforming patient-level costing.

This fortnightly newsletter is sent to NHS trust and foundation trust chairs, chief executives, finance, medical and nursing directors, and foundation trust board secretaries. 

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Contracting round: please agree your contracts before Monday 25 April 2016

Following the email from Bob Alexander, Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Improvement to chief executives and finance directors, a reminder that all providers and commissioners have to complete contract discussions and agree contracts before the deadline of Monday 25 April 2016 to avoid arbitration. To help meet this deadline, if you’ve not already done so, please issue your offers to commissioners by 5pm today, Wednesday 13 April 2016.   

We’ve also extended the final planning submission date from Monday 11 April to midday, Monday 18 April 2016, to give you extra time to agree your contracts and plans with commissioners.

We recognise that this planning round is proving to be very challenging and thank you for all your efforts on this.

Please contact your regional team if you have questions on any aspect of this.

Build quality and efficiency improvement capability within your health system

Applications are now open for our Quality, Service Improvement and Redesign (QSIR) College which aims to support health systems to develop quality and efficiency improvement capability, to build a sustainable local skills base from which to tackle the challenges identified in their sustainability and transformation plan (STP).

Find out more and apply to the programme to help your local system deliver quality and improvement projects by the end of 2016/17.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, Friday 20 May. 

Freedom to speak up: national whistleblowing policy is here to help you

Alongside NHS England, we’ve published a national whistleblowing policy for all NHS organisations to adopt as a minimum standard to help to normalise the raising of concerns for the benefit of all patients. 

The policy came from a recommendation in Sir Robert Francis’ ‘Freedom to speak up review’ and follows your feedback to our consultation where you commented on our policy proposals.

Please email if you would like a Word version of the policy for you to adapt and use within your organisation.

Do you have a favourite resource for our improvement directory?

We’ve put together a directory of useful websites where you can find online improvement tools, resources and networks on health and social care. 

If you have any suggestions of other websites that might be of interest to the rest of the sector then please submit them using our online form.

Transforming patient-level costing in the NHS

Finance directors, we’ve published updates to the costing transformation programme including this document which makes the case for investing in patient-level information and costing systems (PLICS).  

We've also released our draft healthcare costing standards and minimum software requirements for costing systems.

Events and webinars



We’re running a series of webinars on capitated/whole payment budgets which will be of interest to finance directors and managers. 

Find out more and register for:

Other healthcare updates

From Health Education England (HEE) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC): thought leadership lecture, 3 May, London

In this free event, HEE and the NMC will explore their roles in shaping the nursing and care workforce that patients need today and in the future.

The lecture is open to anyone involved in the future shape of the care workforce and will be of specific interest to the following groups: 

  • nurse leaders working in primary and acute settings
  • policy makers
  • patients
  • those working in the independent and third sectors
  • academics from healthcare faculties in higher education

Find out more and register here.

Updates from the Department of Health (DH)

Finance directors; please note that DH has made the following changes to service charges which came into effect on 1 April 2016.

NHS Property Services Ltd (NHSPS)

The charging arrangements for properties held by NHSPS are now on market-based rental arrangements. Please discuss any changes with your commissioners to ensure the impact of the new charge is neutral in 2016/17.

Increase in NHS charges for wigs and fabric supports, prescriptions and dental treatment

New charges apply for NHS prescriptions, wigs, fabric supports and dental treatment. Please discuss these changes with relevant staff within your organisation.

If you have any questions please email

General ophthalmic service fees and voucher values

The NHS general ophthalmic fees and optical voucher values for 2016/17 have been published so please ensure you know which fees to apply for these services. 

Visitor and migrant NHS cost recovery programme: important updates

From 6 April 2016 the threshold for reporting outstanding debt from visitors and migrants subject to immigration control via the NHS debtors scheme, was reduced from £1000 to £500.  

The scheme is part of the cost recovery process and encourages overseas visitors with outstanding NHS debts to pay trusts promptly or to enter into a reasonable repayment plan. 

If you don’t already report your data, please join the scheme by emailing with the contact details of who they should write to in the future for this information. 

From NHS England: national cancer breach allocation guidance

NHS England’s ‘Cancer waiting times delivery group‘ has developed national cancer breach allocation guidance to give providers a clear process to follow when creating local breach allocation policies which can help to remove bottlenecks from patient pathways and deliver timely cancer treatment. 

NHS England advises that these policies should adopt a single maximum handover date of day 38, the date by which cancer patients on an inter provider (IPT) pathway should be transferred from the referring trust/s to the treating trust.

From NHS Partners Network: sustainability and transformation plan workshops

NHS Partners Network will be holding 2 workshops in May 2016, chaired by Dame Barbara Hakin, where NHS leaders will have the opportunity to meet with independent sector chief executives to consider collaboration across both sectors in areas such as capital investment, diagnostic imaging, Carter efficiencies, acute care collaborations and new care models.

Find out more and register for the events.  

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