The Department has collected reference costs from NHS providers for every financial year since 1997 to 1998.
Reference costs are used to set prices for NHS-funded services in England. They also support our commitment to data transparency for the benefit of patients and the public.
Monitor is now accountable for the reference costs collection, with the Department continuing to collect reference costs on its behalf. Monitor’s strategy for costing and cost collection to inform price setting is set out in their Approve Costing Guidance.
Published reference costs
The data collected in reference costs are presented in three ways:
national schedules of reference costs - these show the national average units costs derived from the average unit costs of NHS provider
reference costs index - a measure of the relative efficiency of NHS providers
database of source data – publishing the data submitted by NHS providers gives a valuable source of information for benchmarking of costs and other more detailed analysis. Please note that only source data from 2008 to 2009 are currently available.