Competition rules may need to be applied differently to healthcare, says Hunt

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 11 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2082
  1. Rebecca Coombes
  1. 1BMJ

England’s health secretary has urged competition authorities to go easy on the NHS after the costly, failed merger of two trusts in the south of England last year.

Speaking on 6 March to an audience of health service leaders, Jeremy Hunt admitted that the new competition regime introduced by the Health and Social Care Act last year had not been “smooth sailing.”

He suggested that the competition authorities may have been overinterpreting their role in such hospital mergers as the one that fell foul of the authorities in Dorset last year. A merger between Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trust was blocked by the Competition Commission. The lengthy legal battle …

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