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UK: Latest OFT decision intensifies quarrel with NHS

 |  November 25, 2013

As the UK’s Office of Fair Trading and its National Health Service spar over merger reviews in the healthcare sector, reports say OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell has agreed that there is room for “significant improvement” in NHS merger control, though denied a need for legislative changes.

NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson reportedly suggested recently that officials should consider legal changes to how the UK’s new competition regime will review mergers in the healthcare industry. Since the OFT overtook reviews of NHS mergers in 2012, the regulator referred the proposed merger between Poole Hospital and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals to the Competition Commission, which blocked the buyouts. The decision sparked controversy as various NHS officials believed the merger obstructed necessary reconfigurations.

While the OFT’s Maxwell agreed there needs to be “significant improvement” in how NHS mergers are reviewed, he declined the need for legislative review.

Full Content: HSJ

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