Cooperation and Competition Panel


NHS services are now to be provided by a wide range of organisations all competing within a market.

The new Co-operation and Competition Panel for NHS-funded services is to help deliver the supposed benefits of competition. It will investigate potential breaches of the Principles and Rules as defined by the Department of Health. It will also advise the Department of Health and the foundation trust regulator Monitor. The Panel defines its job as helping to "support the delivery to patients and taxpayers of the benefits of competition".

Its remit is weighted heavily in favour of promoting competition, whilst neglecting the considerable benefits of cooperation.

In response to the CCP's consultation on its guidance documents, NHS Support Federation campaigners asked:

  1. Will the panel ensure that the alternative of a publicly led service is included in consultations about future tenders?
  2. Is the duplication of services to produce choice a good use of resources which constitutes economic efficiency, especially given that the benefits of competition in healthcare are unproven (indeed Minster of State Ben Bradshaw said that the "mix of competition and co-operation in the NHS is a unique model in the world")?
  3. Will the tendering process be fair and transparent, with no discrimination against NHS organisations in favour of either commercial or voluntary bodies or social enterprises?
  4. Will the public be consulted on an ongoing basis about local tenders e.g. via local involvement networks (LINks)?
  5. Will the panel foster co-operation not only between commissioners and providers, but between providers, a hope expressed by Richard Taylor MP in a debate in Parliament on 24 February 2009?

 

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