The Sexual Health tariff will be a set of payments that reflect the cost of the providing the care. Payments are based on clinical pathways (about 150 of them) that cover the broad range of work carried out in SRH and GUM clinics.
4.1 The tariff will help equal out payments so that they actually reflect the level of service provided and type of treatment given. This will mean that sexual health services reflect aspirations set out in the White Paper where, "money will follow the patient through transparent, comprehensive and stable payment systems across the NHS to promote high quality care, drive efficiency, support patient choice."
4.2 The tariff will support the drive to integrate SRH and GUM services which offers efficiencies and is a central aim of the Health and Social Care Reform Bill.
4.3 A large proportion of sexual health service delivery focuses on the prevention of sexual ill health (STI screening, Chlamydia screening programme) and the prevention of unplanned pregnancy. Ensuring these pathways are priced accurately, via a tariff, allows for a whole range of effective health promotion and prevention activities to be delivered alongside clinical care.
4.4 A tariff is key to ensuring that future GUM and SRH services are appropriately remunerated for the important public health work that they do and they are intended to drive good practice and increase access to sexual health services.
4.5 The tariff would allow for a direct link to be made between outcomes and payment. They are based on best-practice pathways and should deliver the highest standard of care.
4.6 A tariff allows for the development of prices that are setting-independent and could be used by a variety of providers.
4.7 A localised tariff price would not be applicable in sexual health, because patients do not necessarily respect health authority borders.
4.8 A localised tariff price would not be appropriate in sexual health because providers should be paid the same regardless of where the patient comes from.
4.9 Extensive time and resource was invested in developing an integrated tariff for GUM and SRH by the London Sexual Health Programme on behalf of the London Primary Care Trusts. It is unlikely that new Directors of Public Health will be able to replicate that work, and it would be an unnecessary use of resources for each of them to spend time 'reinventing the wheel'.
4.10 National tariffs, by guaranteeing an adequate funding stream, will also help to protect the sexual health proportion of the ringfenced budget being used for other services provided by local authorities