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Clause 11 - Power of Secretary of State to give

Part of Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 22nd May 2003.

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Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health) 11:00 am, 22nd May 2003

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The national tariff is not designed to give an unfair advantage to one set of NHS trusts over another. The intention is to fix a standard price for similar

procedures. That is what the healthcare resources group definitions set is all about. When a tariff is set, there should be no unfair competition based on reducing NHS quality of care. We have been there and done that, and it is a really bad place to go. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, Central has some concerns about this, but we want to encourage efficiency and productivity. A national tariff can do that, because if an NHS trust or an NHS foundation trust can provide a service at a lower cost than the national tariff price, it can keep the difference between the national tariff price and the service price under which it can operate. There is clearly an imperative on, and an incentive for, NHS foundation trusts to operate at an optimum level and to use the proceeds and the benefits of that productivity to reinvest their savings and efficiency in the provision of NHS health-care services.