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Government confirms phased implementation of training tariff

Tariffs to ensure the quality of medical education and training will be phased in, the government confirmed last week.

It makes the pledge in a formal response to the Commons health select committee report Education, Training and Workforce Planning, which was published in May.

MPs had criticised the lack of clarity in the proposals to overhaul the education and training system in England as part of wider NHS reforms.

They backed plans to replace the ‘anachronistic and anomalous’ way in which education and training providers were paid with a tariff system whereby money followed the student.

However, they criticised the ‘slender evidence of progress in converting this desirable policy into a system that will work in practice’, and called for a greater sense of urgency, given that implementation was due to take place in April 2013.

The BMA, which gave evidence to the inquiry, agreed with its conclusions on the amount of uncertainty over the changes.

Destabilisation concerns

In its response, the government says tariffs would be phased in, with one for non-medical education and training and undergraduate medical placements in primary care introduced in April 2013.

It says: ‘In order to avoid destabilisation through the introduction of the tariffs, we have agreed to take a phased approach to implementation.’

The government also seeks to assure the role of postgraduate medical deans, saying the deans would continue to have a central role in planning, provision and quality assurance of medical education.

Local education and training boards will have overall responsibility and accountability for these functions.

Read the government response.