This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS Confed: ‘Don’t turn back on competition’

The NHS needs well managed competition to respond to the huge demographic and financial challenges it faces, says the NHS Confederation’s NHS Partners Network director.

Speaking at a Westminster Health conference yesterday, David Worskett, said: ‘There is now a danger that if the NHS turns its back on competition, it may be depriving itself of one of the levers it needs to help it adapt and respond to the huge demographic and financial challenges it faces in the next 20 years.’

Mr Worskett also defended the planned role for Monitor.

‘Good economic and competition regulation can promote the integration of services. Integration and competition are not fundamentally incompatible. But to manage them constructively together you need a strong specialist economic regulator, which is why watering down the role of Monitor could have exactly the opposite one to the one desired.’

Mr Worskett said this Monitor role was far preferable to having courts develop competition law.

Responding to a question from the floor on the Government’s listening exercise, Mr Worskett said it was ‘a great shame’ that the private sector had been excluded from the Future Forum panel.

He said: ‘It’s a shabby way of treating a collection of providers who we have been trying to co-operate with for almost a decade. We have an awful lot to offer.’

The NHS Partners network is an alliance of independent providers and members includes UnitedHealth UK and Bupa Home Healthcare.

David Worskett