Directors oppose tariff payment idea

Rigid tariffs for social services under the NHS payment by results scheme would be incompatible with individual budgets and direct payments and should not be introduced, according to a leading director.

John Dixon (pictured), co-chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services disabilities committee, said that the association would not support the introduction of PbR in social care.

His warning came after a Department of Health newsletter revealed that officials were considering including social care within the remit of PbR for mental health, which is expected to be introduced in the NHS by 2009.

Dixon claimed that introducing PbR’s pricing tariffs for services would undermine the freedom to choose the lower-priced, more informal services that individual budgets were supposed to bring. And he said it could also prevent independent providers offering services for a lower price than hospitals because the tariffs would be fixed.

Under PbR, health providers are paid fixed tariffs for the amount of work they carry out.

Mental health charities have broadly supported including social care within mental health PbR.

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