Provider bulletin: 2 March 2016

In this edition: tariff proposals, framework agreements for agency spend, resubmission of activity plans and trusts' performance in quarter 3.

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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Tell us what you think of the new tariff proposals

You’ve still got time to respond to our proposals for the 2016/17 national tariff on the following areas:

  • the approach to setting prices for 2016/17
  • the impact of the proposed changes to the national tariff
  • the proposals for local payment arrangements
  • the approach to enforcing the national tariff

We encourage you to comment on our proposals and to help you plan your response you can download a list of the consultation questions.

Please respond by 23.59 on Thursday 10 March 2016.

Framework agreements for agency spend: please ask your framework operators to apply for approval

As you know from Jim Mackey’s letters of 15 January and 18 February 2016, from 1 April 2016 you may only procure doctors, nurses and other staff through approved framework agreements.

We’ve asked framework operators to seek approval from Monitor or NHS Trust Development Authority (NHS TDA) for their framework arrangements by 5pm, Thursday 3 March. We encourage you to work with your framework operators now to comply with the price caps, including notifying them of agencies unwilling to meet the caps or adopting other unsupportive practices.

Based on the applications we’ve received by this date, we’ll announce approved framework agreements during week commencing 14 March 2016. However we will also accept applications on an ongoing basis.

If you have any questions about this, or the other agency rules, please contact We’ll shortly be publishing a consolidated document that brings together all of our guidance on agency rules.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to reduce your agency expenditure.

Reminder: 2016/17 activity plan resubmissions for providers due 4 March

Following the email we sent on 22 February, we’d like to remind you that we require each NHS trust and foundation trust to make an additional submission of the activity plans you originally submitted on 8 February 2016.

Unfortunately, many of the plans submitted do not contain data of a high enough quality to provide a firm basis for contracts to be signed and delivered in 2016/17 and we want to ensure that each provider is making enough progress to have a robust plan in place for the final submission deadline of 11 April 2016.

Please follow the same process as before and submit your returns through UNIFY 2; you are only required to give provider activity numbers in this submission.

The deadline for resubmission of activity plans is midday on Friday 4 March 2016.

Performance of NHS trusts and foundation trusts in quarter 3 2015/16

The operational and financial performance report for quarter 3 2015/16 shows that NHS trusts and foundation trusts recorded a deficit to date of £2.26 billion. Our analysis shows however that NHS providers managed to make efficiency savings of £741 million between April and December 2015.

Events and webinars

See an up-to-date list of all our upcoming events.

External updates

From NHS England

Upcoming 7 day self-assessment survey 30 March 2016

From 30 March, the Sustainable Improvement Team (formerly part of NHS Improving Quality) will be asking acute hospitals to complete a self-assessment of their services for emergency hospital admissions, against the 4 priority clinical standards for 7 day services.

This is the second survey collecting this data and the team has made changes to the survey tool based on key feedback from providers and clinical stakeholders. The survey tool is now shorter and removes possible ambiguities in the definitions of the clinical standards.

The survey requires a prospective case note review to be undertaken for a standardised 7 day period. We’d encourage you to ensure you complete the survey so that your data is collected and signed off as accurate well in advance of the upload deadline of 25 April.

You can find more details of the case note review and all other aspects of the survey on the Sustainable Improvement Team website and they will send you more information ahead of the start date.

You can also email the Sustainable Improvement Team for more information

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) providers: volunteers required

NHS England is asking for CAMHS providers to get in touch if you are interested in participating in a pilot project to test and refine needs-based CAMHS currency groupings.

The pilot period will be 2 years and you can find out more on NHS England’s website.

From Future Focused Finance and The King’s Fund

New toolkit for collaborative teamwork across clinical and finance teams

Future Focused Finance and The King’s Fund have launched a toolkit to enable finance and clinical teams to reflect on how they work together and make improvements where necessary.

The toolkit has 7 stages and includes examples from pilot sites of clinicians working with finance colleagues.

Find out more and register to access the toolkit.

From NHS Employers

New pay calculator for junior doctors’ pay

NHS Employers has launched a pay calculator for junior doctors showing the breakdown of earnings under the new 2016 contract and the circumstances where pay protection may apply.

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