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Competition in health care saves lives

John Rentoul

steth 235x300 Competition in health care saves livesIt may be hard to persuade the great British public of this, but it would be a more honest message than the current obfuscations of Andrew Lansley, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, which I discuss in The Independent on Sunday today.

I mention that several studies have shown that competition in health care saves lives. One of them is here (pdf), and here (pdf) is an article by Zack Cooper, one of its authors, that discusses the Lansley reforms.

My previous blog post about Lansley’s language and Paul Corrigan’s alternative is here. I posted about my doubts concerning the technical problems of accountability and “risk pools” a couple of months ago, when the permanent secretary of the Department of Health described the structure set out in the Bill as a “nightmare” (I don’t know how much that has changed in the Committee stage).

Further reading: Allyson Pollock and David Price in the British Medical Journal; Nick Pearce at the IPPR.

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  • StarDasher

    @barabu. I don’t quite understand how you plan to get the NHS to become patient-centred, rather than focus on its own convenience; how it will streamline its procedures and systems; how it becomes more effective and efficient; how people supposedly in charge will perform effectively; how the approach – ‘another bloody patient’ will change?

  • HJ777

    But you can’t know whether you are doing it as well or as efficiently as it could be done, because it is a tax-funded monopoly. There is no-one to compare yourself with. Neither do you have any direct incentive to be as efficient as you could be – you get paid regardless. That’s not to say that you don’t try, just the reality of a tax-funded monopoly.

    I have worked in all sorts of companies which thought that they were effective and efficient until a competitor proved otherwise.

    It is always unwise to presume that a monopoly provider of any goods or services is the expert on how efficient they are.

  • HJ777

    It’s not a question of whether someone should be “allowed” to express an opinion. It is a question of why you (or anyone else) think that you might have the right to prevent others from doing so.

    if you don’t want healthcare decisions to be made by politicians (and I agree with you, they shouldn’t), then you shouldn’t support a government-run system. That is why I am against the NHS.


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