Can market forces make the NHS more efficient?

Tuesday 30th November 2010

Toynbee Hall 28 Commercial Street, London. E1 6LS

With James Gubb, Civitas James’ note on commissioning

David Pruce, Pruce Consulting

Prof Tony Beddow Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care Tony’s presentation

Prof Wendy Savage Keep Our NHS Public

Karen Jennings Unison

A Short and Partial History of Reform of the NHS in England

The Labour Party in England re-introduced an internal market in the NHS without really ever giving the Party the opportunity to discuss the idea.  The party in the rest of the UK has gone in a different direction, and there has been little discussion in England about that.  Most of the health unions are unhappy about extending competition or markets into health.

The SHA central council has had endless discussion about markets, competition and privatisation (which, it should be emphasised, are three different things), and we have found it very difficult to agree a position.  The statement we finally agreed is by no means perfect and we hope this discussion will help us to improve it..

With a new health team and a new round of discussions in the Labour Party National Policy Forum this seems a good time to look at these issues again, especially in the context of Andrew Lansley’s plans for the NHS which envisage that market forces will solve every problem, in a way which even the strongest advocates of competition seem to think is unrealistic.

We have produced a A Framework For Discussion which we hope you may find helpful. It is design to clarify the debate – and you can edit it or comment on it as you see fit.