Excess Treatment Costs

Research is an important core activity of the NHS that NHS England is keen to promote and support in line with its statutory responsibility. It also has a responsibility to ensure that the treatment costs of patients, involved in non-commercial research, funded by the Government and research charities, are met. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the payment of these treatment costs, specifically treatment costs in excess of normal care (Excess Treatment Costs) have become a point of friction between providers and commissioners, both of whom want to support research in the interests of healthcare for patients. This is despite the value of NHS Excess Treatment Costs being small in the context of overall NHS funding.

NHS England has been working in consultation with Department of Health (DH) and other key stakeholders to develop an NHS England strategic plan on the process and funding of Excess Treatment Costs that delivers DH policy. As a result, NHS England has published new guidance to help clarify the rules and expectations.

This guidance is one of a number of actions that NHS England is taking or is planning to take to improve the process for funding Excess Treatment Costs.

Other actions include:

  • The creation of a treatment cost/saving tool mechanism to improve the accuracy and consistency of costing and savings data
  • Early provision to commissioners of details of funded research studies to improve their awareness of research studies that may impact on them
  • Identification of key contacts at commissioner and provider level
  • NHS England working more closely with research funders to ensure that commissioner priorities are considered when funding research
  • Providers supplying commissioners with details of their research portfolio including excess treatment costs and treatment savings arising during a research study.

NHS England will be reviewing the impact of the guidance and other actions in 12 months to ensure that they are having the desired impact.

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