News / Renewed uncertainty over national cost collection

27 July 2023 Steve Brown

The national body responsible for costing reported delays to this year’s costing programme at the start of the year – the result of staffing difficulties in part resulting from the merger between NHS England and NHS Digital. Back in March, to help trust costing teams plan their NCC workload, it said that the submission window would open ‘no earlier than’ 18 September – although this would have represented a two-month  delay on last year’s submission.Calculator

In June it set a ‘go/no go’ date of 10 July, by which it would assess if the September date was achievable and aim to officially confirm the dates for collection. However, a Costing update subsequently advised that the meeting to take this decision had to be further delayed.

This week the national costing team informed costing practitioners that ‘the programme is not able to proceed on Monday 18 September 2023’. A blog on the FutureNHS platform said this was due to contractors responsible for the technical pipeline asking for additional weeks to test and assure its operation.

No new target date has been proposed at this stage. ‘We are awaiting a revised implementation plan and will share an update with a proposed opening date as soon as we can,’ the update said.

The announcement is frustrating for costing practitioners as it creates workload planning difficulties. Even if they have already completed the work required to prepare the submission, or continue to work to the original plan of 18 September, they will need to factor in the time to process their NCC output through the NHS England validation tool and do the submission once the final date is released.

But it may also impact on related activities. For example, some trusts may need to make changes to their costing systems to support other initiatives and developments, but won’t be able to make these alterations until they have completed the NCC submission. This may impact on the production of patient-level costing data for 2023/24.