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UK: NHS head embraces competition law

 |  April 29, 2014

The head of NHS England is looking to distance himself from his predecessor by assuring lawmakers that he does not believe competition law stands in the way of health service reform, say reports.

HNS England chief executive Simon Stevens spoke to MPs to answer questions about his stance on the matter, describing his approach to competition as “pragmatic,” reports say.

His processor, Sir David Nicholson, had raised concerns ahead of his retirement that competition law and healthcare reform were not compatible given the current legislation.

But Stevens looked to distance himself from Sir David, for example, in highlighting his differing opinion on the proposed merger between two major hospital groups, blocked by the Competition Commission last year. Whereas Sir David saw the Commission’s decision as an example of competition policy hampering healthcare services, Stevens said the ruling “sent a clear signal to hospital managers that they need to be very clear about what the supposed benefits are going to be before they embark on that process and that’s no bad signal to send.”

Full content: Health Service Journal

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