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Bennett: Competition can ‘drive improvement’ for patients

Monitor chief executive David Bennett has stood by the role of competition in the NHS, stating that competitive tendering can “drive change and improvement for patients”.

Speaking at the launch of NHS England’s ‘Five year forward view’ launch, Bennett (pictured) said: “Choice and competition are one of the ways in which we can drive change and improvement for patients, and we don’t see that that will cease to be the case.”

The report itself notably does not reference the use of competition but instead recommended other changes to drive efficiencies, for instance an increase in preventative care at home.

“There would be merit in extending incentives for employers in England who provide effective NICE recommended workplace health programmes for employees,” the report suggested too.

It also said that Monitor, TDA and NHS England would develop “a whole system, geographically based intervention regime”.

This could, it said, include a ‘special measures’ approach to areas facing serious problems with care.

The Five Year Forward View report, published yesterday, also recommended increasing NHS England spending by 1.5% above inflation each year.

None of the three main political parties have pledged a financial increase this big.

The Conservatives, for instance, are sticking by their current ringfence, while Labour and the Liberal Democrats have promised an extra £2.5 billion and £1 billion per annum respectively.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens asked for politicians’ support in the document. This precedes the political parties’ manifestos in a move that some suggest could shake up politicians’ health stances in the general election run-up.

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Posted on: 24/10/2014

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