Lansley defends role of Monitor and competition in Health Bill

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has defended the Health Bill's inclusion of a role for Monitor in promoting competition.

Mr Lansley: 'We are not creating a new authority with new powers in relation to competition, to promote competition.'
Mr Lansley: 'We are not creating a new authority with new powers in relation to competition, to promote competition.'

Speaking at a Kings Fund event this week, Mr Lansley insisted that healthcare providers would not be required to compete on price.

‘The only way to distinguish yourself as a healthcare provider is to provide a higher quality service than everyone else,’ Mr Lansley said.

Responding to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s revelation that he would not support a role for Monitor in promoting competition, Mr Lansley said that competition already existed in the NHS.

‘The bill doesn't change competition rules inside the NHS,' he said. 'We are not creating a new authority with new powers in relation to competition, to promote competition.'

He said Monitor fulfilled a number of tasks, such as ‘protecting access to services for patients’ and ‘making sure when there are abuses of competition that steps are taken to prevent that from happening'.

In response to claims that integration would be at odds with competition, Mr Lansley compared the NHS to a mobile phone.

He said, when using a mobile phone, ‘you are enjoying the fruits of countless individual organisations operating in a wide range of highly competitive markets, all working together to deliver that one complex, ubiquitous product'.

‘Of course, the NHS isn’t a mobile phone,’ he added.

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