Providers of National Health Service-funded healthcare services are expected to meet a range of waiting time standards and other operational standards and quality requirements, in order to deliver the rights and pledges in the NHS Constitution and to achieve other national priorities. These requirements are set out in the NHS Standard Contract, which is used by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for all contracts with hospital providers of NHS healthcare services. The Contract sets out the consequences of breaches of the waiting time standards and other requirements. In many cases, this consequence is in the form of a financial sanction.
However, since April 2016, the operation of certain contractual sanctions for reduced performance against waiting time standards, including four hour and 12 hour waits in accident and emergency (A&E) and the Referral to Treatment 18 week incomplete pathways standard has been suspended where a provider is receiving funding from the national Sustainability and Transformation Fund (STF) and meets certain other specified conditions. The overall effect is that, in 2017/18, the Contract sanctions for A&E performance are not being applied to the majority of NHS hospitals – only to a very small minority which refused the offer of funding from the STF and the associated conditions.
Since 2015/16, NHS Improvement has published a high level summary of this information in their Quarterly reports, the latest of which is for Quarter 3 of 2017/18 and is available at the following link: