Commenting on the news that next year’s proposed national tariff for NHS services has been rejected, Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:
‘The rejection of the proposed national tariff for next year is very significant. It suggests that the policy of implementing year-on-year reductions in the prices paid to hospitals for their services has reached the end of the line.
‘This is an unprecedented development. It is not clear what the outcome will be but, with just three months to go before the start of the financial year, it will throw financial planning in the NHS into disarray.
‘With signs that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain downward pressure on staff pay, it indicates that the two main ways used to reduce NHS costs over the last few years - limiting staff salary increases and reducing payments to hospitals – have now been largely exhausted.
‘With financial problems among hospitals now endemic, waiting times rising and staff morale a significant cause for concern, this once again indicates that the situation facing the NHS is becoming critical.’
Notes to editors:
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