Mental Health Services

Department of Health written question – answered on 5th February 2015.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Public Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how he plans to ensure that NHS England area teams follow Monitor's guidelines on local pricing for mental health services; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Public Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the effect of the 2014-15 national tariff deflator on out-of-area placements for mental health patients.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

No assessment has been made of the impact of price adjustments within the National Tariff Payment System arrangements for 2014-15 on out of area placements in mental health services. Funding for mental health has increased by £302 million in 2014-15, a rise of 1.5% in cash terms, total mental health spending rose from £11.362 billion in 2013-14 with £11.664 billion planned in 2014-15.

Monitor and NHS England are jointly responsible for setting the National Tariff Payment System arrangements. Mental health services are paid for at locally agreed prices. Commissioners and providers should have regard for the principles and rules applied to the National Tariff Payment System including the price adjustments when agreeing local prices. However, they have the flexibility to develop alternative payment approaches where there is good reason to do so and if this is in the best interests of patients.

Most mental health services are commissioned locally by clinical commissioning groups, with NHS England commissioning specialised mental health services directly through area teams. In these instances, area teams negotiate financial agreements with their local providers.

Monitor is responsible for enforcing the national tariff rules, including those on local price-setting and can take action where local financial agreements for services paid for at local prices are not transparent or fair.

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