Public service reform more urgent than ever

John Rentoul

royallondon 300x142 Public service reform more urgent than everA new paper from the Centre for Economic Performance finds that competition in the NHS improves hospital efficiency without any negative impact on patient outcomes.

(New Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, right, has little to do with this story.)

“Does Hospital Competition Improve Efficiency? An Analysis of the Recent Market-Based Reforms to the English NHS” by Zack Cooper, Stephen Gibbons, Simon Jones and Alistair McGuire at the London School of Economics finds that “hospitals located in areas where patients have a great deal of choice improve their efficiency more quickly than hospitals located in less competitive markets”.

In a press release, Cooper, the lead author, says:

The NHS is going to face significant pressure to slow health care spending. Unfortunately, there are only two ways to slow how much we spend on health care: we can either cut services or become more efficient.

Clearly, we’d rather see hospitals becoming more efficient instead of cutting services that patients value. Our research suggests that this can happen through greater patient choice and hospital competition.

Cooper was co-author of an excellent article in LSE Research magazine, about which I wrote in March.

Previous posts on the subject of public service reform are here.

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  • Richard Blogger

    So why is Lansley handing NHS commissioning over to GPs who have a vested interest in commissioning themselves to do the work? There is no competition involved when patients are told by a GP that they have to have their treatment offered by the GP practice.

  • mercury51

    why on earth should hospitals compete? you might as well have police forces compete

    i find it difficult to understand this human obsession with competition; but what the hell, humans are odd.

  • TheRedMage

    The argument is that hospitals compete in other countries, even in Europe, where governments provide healthcare via social health insurance rather than owning the hospitals.

  • mercury51

    it seems absurd that public services open to all should compete; absurd beyond idiocy

  • Guest

    what a quaint old-fashioned idea -’public service’?; is that the stuff that recruits mega bucks whiz kids from industry and commerce to supposedly show us how to run a business?

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