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Marketisation is not the answer to NHS’ financial woes

27 November 2014

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A study from independent think tank the New Economics Foundation has warned against further marketisation of the NHS.

The Wrong medicine report, found that the majority of global evidence shows that markets fail to deliver cost-effective, high-quality healthcare and competition between service providers undermines efforts to tackle long-term problems, such as obesity.

 It also found that £4.5bn a year is needed to prop up markets within the NHS, the equivalent of 174,798 extra nurses or 10 new specialist hospitals.

It also flags up the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which threatens to “entrench a US-style healthcare system in the UK”.

When compiling the report, the NEF looked at 30 years worth of data since the marketisation began in the 1980s. They found that not only are vast sums of money required to maintain markets, but that they fail to provide high quality healthcare that is cost efficient.

Anna Coote, Head of Social Policy at the NEF, said: “The drive to turn the NHS into a competitive marketplace flies in the face of clear evidence that markets in healthcare fail taxpayers, citizens and patients.

“It’s the wrong medicine and it is proving to be lethal. Yet as things get worse for the NHS, the Government prescribes more of the same. This is ideology gone mad.”

The report also highlights that since 2010, the speed at which the marketisation of the NHS has changed has dramatically increased, particularly following the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

There is an increased financial pressure on the healthcare sector in recent years with the NHS facing the challenge of finding £20billion worth of saving by 2015. However the report finds that evidence, experience or opinion does not support marketisation.