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Tariff for community services opens the door for private sector

The Department of Health has confirmed it is considering a tariff for community services in response to lobbying by primary care providers - a move that will open the door for the private sector.

If implemented private providers and foundation trusts will be able to offer community services previously provided by primary care trusts.

Confirmation that the tariff could be included in Lord Darzi's primary and community care strategy was given by Mark Britnell, director general of commissioning at the Department of Health. In his speech to the "Managing Long Term Conditions" conference, Britnell also said the prospect of national indicators for long-term conditions would be developed alongside HM Treasury. 

"We have already achieved our targets with a 10% reduction in emergency admissions," Mr Britnell said. "But we are now looking at developing new national indicators that the Treasury would be able to hold the DH accountable for."

He added that a patient prospectus will also be an important part of the next stage review, and said: "This will ensure that people with long-term conditions receive a better service and are able to take control of their condition."