With the NHS Standard Contract now compulsory wherever publicly funded services are commissioned by the NHS, it has become increasingly important to understand the terms and conditions of the contract. This is so that services can be commissioned and finances managed within a complex set of rules, designed to ensure a level playing field across the NHS.
The Standard Contract is split into 4 main documents:
- General Conditions – standard terms applicable to all contracts – published online by NHS England
- Service Conditions – standard terms specific to each service (acute, mental health, ambulance, etc) applicable to all contracts – published online by NHS England
- Particulars – local terms and conditions agreed between the parties, but set out in the prescribed format of the contract schedules – published as a Word document to be completed and signed locally
- Technical Guidance – increasingly lengthy and complex supporting guidance – published as a PDF document by NHS England
And this does not even cover some of the less well known supporting guidance, covering topics such as CQUIN, Collaborative Commissioning Agreements, the NHS Payment Scheme, etc…
At Bailey & Moore we can help with technical and practical support on how to use the NHS Standard Contract to deliver objectives for both the commissioner and provider. We have experience from many different parts of England and we can advise with many of the hot topics of the day, such as:
- How do commissioners ensure a specific pathway is delivered?
- What is the correct contractual process if activity and finance exceeds the contract plan?
- What happens under the contract when a provider begins to record and charge for new activity?
- What happens under the contract if a commissioner withholds payment following challenges to the provider’s performance?
- Does a commissioner have to offer every provider CQUIN scheme(s)?
- What is a reasonable course of action for a commissioner if information it has requested from a provider is not provided?
- What are the rules for varying or terminating a contract or service within a contract?
We can offer advice in many different ways:
- technical support, review and opinion for one party
- independent reviews jointly commissioned by commissioner(s) and provider
- facilitated negotiation around any contentious issues
- formal mediation, which can be binding or non-binding (advisory only)