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Competition can bring benefits for the NHS—provided it’s the right kind, meeting hears

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2857 (Published 06 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2857
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Competition has a role to play in improving NHS services, widening choice, and slowing the growth of spending, a breakfast meeting at the King’s Fund was told on 4 May.

The success of competition, however, depends on choosing the right forms of competition, so as to avoid driving out collaboration, said Chris Ham, chief executive of the fund. He distinguished between competition for the market, where different providers compete to win a franchise to run a particular service, and competition in the market, where patients are given a choice of providers and choose which to them seems best.

Stephen Dunn, director of strategy for NHS East of England, gave examples from his region, where tight management and being “very tough” with providers has turned a £300m (€332m; $495m) deficit in 2006 into a £200m …

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