Competition is one of the most controversial tools with which successive governments have tried to boost efficiency and quality in the NHS. Our research examines how well market mechanisms in the NHS are working and whether their application could be made more effective.
Since 1989, successive governments have introduced market mechanisms to drive improvements in the NHS. Reforms have allowed care providers to compete for commissioning contracts, enabled patients to exercise consumer choice, and brought private and non-profit bodies into the health service to expand the range of provision on offer.
Competition in the NHS has always been the subject of fierce debate. Market reforms are an important provision of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which redefines Monitor – the foundation trust regulator – as an economic regulator for the internal market with a duty to challenge anti-competitive behaviour.
Competition in the NHS has always been the subject of fierce debate. Our aim is to become a centre of expertise on the use of competition and market mechanisms in health care
As the new system moves into implementation, the Trust is developing into a centre of expertise around competition and market reform.
Professor Michael Chernew of Harvard Medical School on payment reform in the United States
A core element of our work in this area is a research programme that is being conducted in partnership with the Institute for Fiscal Studies. This draws on international and past experience to address key questions in relation to how competition operates and its implications for the quality of care.
Our aim to become a centre of expertise on the use of competition and market mechanisms in health care.
Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives, Flickr