Can Market Forces be Used for Good?

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The government is committed to changing the NHS and making services more responsive to public demands. Meanwhile, there is ongoing debate about the benefits of market disciplines versus planned provision.

This paper asks whether a highly centralised system can sit comfortably alongside a market-led approach, and whether market forces can respond effectively to demands of an ageing population. It brings together the views of three expert commentators: Julian Le Grand says stronger market incentives would improve performance among secondary care providers; Peter Smith argues against even modest experimentation with stronger market incentives; and Jennifer Dixon looks at the possibility of combining the best aspects of market disciplines with planned provision.