NHS Market Futures: Exploring the impact of health service market reforms

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Despite initially rejecting the notion of an internal NHS market when it came to power in 1997, the Labour government has re-introduced competition to health services over the past three years.

The market now emerging is the product of a series of separate policy developments – including extending choice of provider, expanding the role of the private sector and introducing payment by results – and consequently no one is sure what it will ultimately achieve.

This paper analyses the government's market reforms, considering whether they can meet the core aims of the NHS, looking at the challenges they present, and exploring options for meeting those challenges.