Friday, April 3, 2009

Cooperation and Competition Panel Consultation

This is from the excellent NHS Support Federation:

From NHS Support Federation, a founder organisation of Keep Our NHS Public

NHS services are now to be provided by a wide range of organisations all competing within a market. The new Co-operation and Competition Panel for NHS-funded services is to help deliver the supposed benefits of competition. It will investigate potential breaches of the Principles and Rules as defined by the Department of Health. It will also advise the Department of Health and the foundation trust regulator Monitor. The Co-operation and Competition Panel is a misnomer as its remit is weighted so heavily in favour of promoting competition, whilst neglecting the considerable benefits of cooperation.

We need your help to respond forcefully to the Panel's current consultation and to lobby MPs. Please write a letter objecting to the imposition of competition and commercial values on the NHS and raising the crucial questions listed below. Send your letter to the Co-operation and Competition Panel at the address below and a copy to your MP.

Send to: Interim Guidelines Consultation, Cooperation and Competition Panel, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ or email Respond by 30 April.

Points to make:
  1. Will the panel ensure that the alternative of a publicly led service is included in consultations about future tenders?
  2. Is the duplication of services to produce choice a good use of resources which constitutes economic efficiency, especially given that the benefits of competition in healthcare are unproven (indeed Minster of State Ben Bradshaw said that the "mix of competition and co-operation in the NHS is a unique model in the world")?
  3. Will the tendering process be fair and transparent, with no discrimination against NHS organisations in favour of either commercial or voluntary bodies or social enterprises?
  4. Will the public be consulted on an ongoing basis about local tenders e.g. via local involvement networks (LINks)?
  5. Will the panel foster co-operation not only between commissioners and providers, but between providers, a hope expressed by Richard Taylor MP in a debate in Parliament on 24 February?

It is vital to protect and promote a publicly led NHS which has an ethos which is truly patient-centred. We must insist to the Panel that our objections to the notion of a health service based on a competitive market are widely shared. With your help we must ensure that our views are not ignored.

You can see the consultation paper, the four guidance documents which are the subject of the consultation, and the response template at

Please send us copies of your letters or emails. Thanks for your help.

NHS Support Federation

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