Future of Independent Sector Treatment Centres

Posted on July 30, 2009. Filed under: ISTC, Press/News Releases |

Department of Health | News Distribution Service | 30 July 2009

The future use of Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs) in the NHS, will be fairer and on the same terms as other providers of NHS services, Health Minister Mike O’Brien announced today.

Under the changes set out today, each contract will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and new services will be commissioned by the local Primary Care Trust where they are designed to meet local needs, provide value for money and benefit patients in that community.  Primary Care Trusts are already responsible for procuring a broad range of services from NHS and independent sector providers on behalf of local patients.

In future, contracts to provide services from these treatment centres will also be paid under the same pricing arrangements as NHS providers. Services will be delivered under the terms and conditions of the standard NHS national contract for acute hospital services – the same contract used by NHS providers.

Where the NHS identifies an ongoing need for services, there will be a competitive tendering process and bidders, including those from the independent sector, will be invited to deliver services at NHS tariff prices.

Health Minister, Mike O’Brien said:

“We need providers of NHS services, to deliver safe and high quality care for patients and value for money, but there should also be consistency in pricing and contracts. In the past the Independent Sector have sometimes been guaranteed payments. In the future it is intended that contracts will operate at NHS tariff prices using the standard NHS contract for hospital services.

“Where independent sector providers offer value for money, innovation and high quality patient care, they have a role to play within the NHS.

Independent Sector Treatment Centres have helped patients by increasing choice and capacity, and reducing waiting times.

“Greater local control and day-to-day management will ensure these services are better integrated in to the local health system and reflect local needs.”

The first wave of contracts are due to end from 2010.  Both independent sector and NHS providers will be eligible to bid for the new contracts, which will be commissioned locally by the NHS, rather than by the Department of Health.

Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs) have helped improve health services for patients, reduce waiting times and improve patient choice in the NHS. More than 1.7 million operations, diagnostic assessments and primary care consultations have been provided to NHS patients at ISTCs. ISTCs have pioneered innovative approaches that have delivered improvements for patients in access to services and quality of care, such as fixed site treatment centres typically specialising in a range of elective procedures and mobile diagnostic services to NHS patients in locations close to their home.


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