Price competition may drive down quality of care, hear MPs looking at health bill

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 11 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d996
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

MPs have been told that competition on price between public and private providers of healthcare services would be dangerous and should be introduced only slowly and in a limited way, if at all.

Giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Bill committee, Sue Slipman, director of the Foundation Trust Network, whose members include foundation trusts and organisations preparing for foundation trust status, expressed concern about plans in the bill to allow private providers to compete with the NHS in England to bid for tenders together with GP commissioning consortiums.

“One thing that could drive down quality is if you have price competition. That would be very dangerous,” she said. However, she said she was not against price competition in the long term. “But it would not be good to have price competition at least until the system has stabilised and we know that …

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