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NHS providers “need more co-operation and less competition”

28 June 2010

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Healthcare providers need to co-operate rather than compete to make the NHS more cost-effective, a group of medical bodies and unions has said.

In a series of recommendations drawn up at a discussion meeting, campaigners and experts from the BMA, NHS Support Federation, NHS Consultants Association, Keep our NHS Public, and Unison called for funding to be handed out more fairly and based on patient needs rather than the achievements of trusts.

A statement from the groups called for more equitable and efficient funding mechanisms, warning that current guidelines based on results are “based upon narrowly defined episodes of care”, can “generate perverse incentives in patient referrals” and do not encourage “the pursuit of unmet need”.

Another suggestion to encourage savings included the idea to axe the purchaser-provider split in the NHS.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, said: “We need a democratically accountable, local approach to healthcare delivery, with funding based on the needs of patients, and providers encouraged to co-operate rather than compete.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010