Competition can help NHS but must be used with care, report says

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 31 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e800
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Competition works in healthcare and can stimulate the provision of better services, concludes a new report from the think tank the Office of Health Economics (OHE).

But it isn’t a cure all to be used everywhere and for every service, it adds. The key is to use it judiciously where the evidence indicates that it can do most good. The question is not “competition or no competition” but deciding where competition should be used and where eschewed.

The report dismisses claims that competition makes integrated care impossible or that the opening of tendering a service to “any qualified provider” amounts to privatisation of the NHS. Even in the United States, says Jim Malcolmson, professor of economics at Oxford University, who chaired …

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