Best practice tariffs and their impact

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Audit Commission for Local Authorities and the National Health Service in England
Audit Commission
Date of publication
1 November 2012
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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This report examines best practice tariffs (BPTs) in the NHS. BPTs aim to reduce unexplained variation in clinical quality and ensure that best practice is widespread. The Department of Health (DH) seeks to structure and price BPTs so that they adequately reimburse and incentivise high quality and cost-effective care. The DH introduced BPTs in 2010/11 and has gradually expanded their range. The DH's policy intention is to continue to increase the number of BPTs.

BPTs have had a variable impact. Although the concept has strong support, NHS organisations said that BPTs were not themselves the driving force for local improvement. Providers in particular consider that they do not provide much financial incentive. But they can focus attention on an area of clinical practice and, when aligned with a strong clinical drive nationally and locally, can help bring about significant improvement as shown by progress on fragility hip fractures.