Maria Goddard and Brian Ferguson address a central theme of the recent NHS reforms – the introduction of competition on the supply side of the internal market. The aim of this was to provide the incentive for efficiency and responsiveness through decentralised decision-making.
The authors examine hospital and service merger policy and practice in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. They suggest that the evidence on the impact of mergers in the health care sector remains inconclusive and that the expected benefits from mergers often fail to materialise.
A cautious approach to merger activity and a clear framework for assessment are essential.