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Experts question merits of extending competition to improve hospital care
Date:10/10/2011

the board improvements in hospital quality. The authors argue that: "It is equally plausible, however, that such competition for elective surgery might, through diversion of management effort, negatively affect the quality of other hospital services." Hence the authors believe that "a key finding of these two studies is that introducing patient choice for elective surgery in the New Labour market did not reduce quality elsewhere in hospitals."

"We believe there are strong grounds for introducing patient choice into the NHS as an end in itself, given its potential to empower patients and give them greater control over the conditions of their care," say the authors. Nevertheless, they add, how patient choice has affected outcomes in elective surgery "remains an open question."

They conclude: "More research is required before conclusions can be drawn about the effect of recent reforms on hospital quality, let alone about the merits of the Mr Lansley's proposals further to extend competition."


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmjgroup.com
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Source:Eurekalert

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