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Unbridled competition in NHS could increase inequalities

Professor Lindsey Davies, President of the Faculty of Public Health, commented on the publication of section 75 regulations that give guidance on the procurement of NHS services:

"The NHS is going through a period of huge change in terms of the way health services are funded, managed and delivered.  Public health professionals involved in developing health services service are experts in planning high quality services that deliver value for money. They are deeply concerned about the implications of proposed regulations underpinning commissioning in the 'new' NHS.
"As FPH's risk assessment of the Health Act warned last year, unbridled competition tends to both increase health inequalities  and destroy collaboration and integration of services. The requirement for competition is also likely to damage long-term partnerships between services.
"The recent publication of secondary legislation about how NHS services are commissioned risks making what is already a complex situation even harder to manage. For patients, that could mean that their doctors are caught up in unnecessarily complex decisions about how to commission services, rather than focusing on patient care. It is vital that the law does not make the tendering process unnecessarily bureaucratic.
"We need services to be joined up so they can run efficiently,  protect children and other vulnerable people,  provide screening  and immunisation programmes safely,  control infection and ensure patient  information is kept confidential. We don't want the law to allow taxpayers' money and doctors' time to be wasted reviewing services that are cost-effective,  working well, and which patients like,  just because a private sector company is entilted to challenge how they are run."

Written: 04/03/2013 , last modified: 03/05/2013