Competition in the NHS

One of the most controversial aspects of the Lansley reforms was the drive towards applying market principles to the NHS. This is a trend that has been growing incrementally since the 1990s and comes to a head with the introduction of the Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition Regulations 2013. When these were first tabled in March 2013, they were hastily withdrawn by Norman Lamb as ‘confusing’. The rewritten regulations have also faced fierce opposition but came into force along with the restructuring of the NHS on 1 April 2013. Monitor, which will be responsible for enforcing the regulations, subsequently consulted on their implementation and has now published its final and substantive guidance.

Whatever your political take on the regulations, they need to be understood by anyone commissioning or seeking to provide health and social care services to NHS bodies. The regulations will apply to the procurement of all services by NHS England and CCGs and will sit alongside the Public Contracts Regulations 2006…

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