Article date: 2 April 2014
The final report of the Competition Commission’s investigation into the private healthcare market puts in place several positive and welcomed changes that will help ensure better value for money for all private healthcare customers and self-pay patients across the UK.
The proposals will substantially increase competition in London, where some private hospitals have held market power with little effective competition, resulting in higher prices for customers. The investigation also found that competition between hospitals is weak in many local areas outside of London but the evidence of an impact on price was not strong enough to require divestments.
Together with improved transparency on the cost and performance of individual consultants and private hospitals, allowing customers to exercise choice, a much improved market will ensue, with customers able to access high quality care at more affordable prices
The removal of direct incentives to consultants and restrictions on equity ownership by them will also prevent referrals being influenced by a financial interest.
Mark Noble, managing director at Aviva UK Health, said: “We have been engaging with the Competition Commission throughout this thorough investigation and fully support their sensible and decisive remedies. In time, they will create a more sustainable and fairer market for all, and will engender better value for money for private healthcare customers.
“The removal of market power in London in particular will drive a much healthier, competitive approach to pricing, while all patients and GPs in the UK will be able to make more informed decisions on medical treatment through the publication of cost and performance data.
“The customer benefits of these remedies will take time to become manifest, but at Aviva we believe the market will significantly improve in the customers’ interest, ultimately allowing more people to access the important benefits of private healthcare.
“We will continue to work closely with hospitals and consultants, and any new ones, to ensure that the remedies of the CMA translate into high quality medical care for the best possible price for our customers.”
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