The competition authority has no place in a state-funded health service. That should be blindingly obvious, but it’s not going quietly
Some bad ideas are very hard to kill. The NHS in England is finally trying to strangle the notion that competition between hospitals is like competition between supermarkets, an anti-cartel spur to quality and low prices. But, zombie-like, the competition mania keeps being resurrected by those who think nothing works without red-in-tooth-and-claw markets. This ideological fight has battered the NHS for decades.
The latest NHS England 10-year plan is all about urging everyone into closer collaboration between community, GPs and hospitals, and – at a stretch – social care too, without pointless duplication or destructive competition for staff and resources. With lengthening waiting lists, where’s the spare capacity to compete for patients? If that sounds like blindingly obvious common sense, it isn’t to privatisers and marketisers.
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