GP direct access pathology prices

The request was refused by NHS Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group.

Dear NHS Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group,

Please advise whether you currently pay for GP direct access pathology on a block contract basis, an average price per test, or a specific price per test. If the latter, please advise the price currently paid for each of the following tests:

Full blood count
U&E profile*
Liver function test profile*
Parathyroid hormone
Ferritin, or TSAT
Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
Hepatitis C
Folate deficiency
Vitamin B12
Vitamin D
Blood culture
IV antibiotic tests

* if parameters priced separately:
Alkaline Phosphatase

Yours faithfully,

hugh risebrow


Thank you for your request for information. This email is to acknowledge
that your request is being handled under the Freedom of Information Act


NEL Commissioning Support Unit will reply as soon as possible on behalf of
NHS Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and in any event within 20
working days following the date we received your request. If your request
is received on a weekend, the clock will start on the first working day
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If you have any queries about this request, please do not hesitate to
contact me.


Yours sincerely


FOI Team

Bjorklund, Maria - FOI Officer,

Dear Mr Risebrow

Thank you for your recent information request received by NHS Barnet Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) via email on 14 September 2016. This response is on behalf of NHS Barnet CCG and your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 (the Act).

Please see the response to your request below:

NHS Barnet CCG holds information of the average per test by modality (Biochemistry/Chemical Pathology, Haematology, Microbiology, Cytology/Histopathology, Immunology). However, we consider the average price paid per test exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the Act.

Section 43 of the Act provides an exemption for information, the disclosure of which would or would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the interests of a public authority, like NHS Barnet CCG.) Our view is that disclosure of the information you have requested would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of NHS Barnet CCG and the providers. Specifically, disclosure of the withheld information would have a negative impact on its revenue streams.

Section 43 is subject to a public interest test balancing the arguments for and against disclosure and reaching a conclusion.

Public interest test
NHS Barnet CCG has considered the following factors.

Factors in favour of disclosure of the information are as follows:
1. Promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities for decisions taken by them and in the spending of public money.

2. Allowing individuals and companies to understand decisions made by public authorities affecting their lives.

3. Ensuring that NHS Barnet CCG is using public money effectively, and that NHS Barnet CCG is getting value for money when purchasing services.

Factors in favour of non-disclosure include:
1. The prices are commercial information and disclosure of such information would likely prejudice the commercial interests of the service provider in question. NHS Barnet CCG should ensure that the competitive position of providers in their particular market is not disadvantaged by doing business with NHS Barnet CCG. It would not be in the public interest to disclose sensitive information about a particular provider if that information would be likely to be used by competitors to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

2. Disclosure of the prices into the public domain could decrease the differentiation between suppliers, as processes, practices and commercial offerings may become homogenised, thus endangering true and fair competition. This would further hinder the ability of providers to act competitively within the market.

3. Disclosure of commercially sensitive information risks losing the trust of potential providers which could damage NHS Barnet CCG’s reputation with providers and therefore undermine NHS Barnet CCG’s ability to procure specialised services. This would be to the detriment of the public interest in seeing that our services are developed with the best advice and services, and at favourable rates.

4. The information relates to legitimate economic interests. Disclosure would be likely to reduce NHS Barnet CCG’s capacity to negotiate contracts. The release of individual costs could compromise NHS Barnet CCG’s ability to secure good value in their discussions with contractors by creating market expectations in key rates and allowances. It is important that the NHS Barnet CCG protects its interests and its bargaining position in negotiations.

Overall, we do not believe that the factors favouring disclosure outweigh the factors favouring maintaining the section 43 exemption. While we recognise and appreciate the principle of open and transparent administration, we also recognise the direct conflict this principle has with the point on protecting the interests of businesses, and indeed public organisations, from unreasonable commercial disadvantage. In every consideration of the public interest test there will be tension between the two principles that must be balanced. However, in this instance we do not believe there is any significant public interest value so as to outweigh the prejudice that would be caused to the undertakings’ commercial interests in a highly competitive business healthcare industry.

For these reasons we believe section 43 applies and the reasons against disclosure outweigh the public interest in releasing this information.

I hope you this response satisfies the terms of your request. However, if you are dissatisfied with this response, NHS Barnet CCG operates a review procedure, details of which can be found below.

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Most of the information that we provide in response to Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases the copyright will be owned by the relevant CCG. The copyright in other information may be owned by another person or organisation, as indicated in the information itself. You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

FOI Reviews:
In the first instance, write to:
Head of Communications
NEL Commissioning Support Unit
Clifton House, 5th Floor
75-77 Worship Street
London EC2A 2DU
[NHS Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group request email]

If you remain dissatisfied with our response, you may write to:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Telephone: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745

Kind regards

Maria Bjorklund


Maria Bjorklund
FOI Officer
NEL Commissioning Support Unit
[email address]
0203 688 1283

Fifth Floor, Clifton House,
75-77 Worship Street, London EC2A 2DU


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