Surprise NHS payments consultation launched
North east London health chiefs have launched a surprise consultation on the way local hospitals and other health providers are paid for the care they deliver.
The newly formed East London Health and Care Partnership (ELHCP) launched the consultation on 11 July and set 29 September as the deadline for responses.
Homerton Hospital and City and Hackney clinical commissioning group (CCG), both ELHCP partners, expressed alarm and surprise at the move saying they had received no advance notice of the consultation.
A change in the way healthcare is funded will have significant implications for Homerton Hospital which in future may just receive a fixed amount of money to treat all its patients rather than funding for the actual amount of care they provide.
It is still unclear how this will impact on local patients although it is likely fewer patients will be treated in hospital and more patients will be directed to community-based and 'self-care' options.
Many NHS patient campaigners fear ELHCP, previously known as the north east London sustainability and transformation plan (NEL STP), will use a change in the payments system to drive through a £600m cut to NHS spending across north east London by 2020/21.
The ELHCP says it wants local health providers to move away from 'activity-based' payments because they create 'unintended consequences' including incentivising care in expensive hospital settings.
Historically, most NHS healthcare has been paid for by activity (often called payment by results) as this has helped to bring down waiting times.
The consultation document points to payment systems used in NHS 'vanguard' areas in England including payments based on health outcomes for patients and the wider population.
Written responses should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6pm on Friday 29 September 2017.