Monitor stripped of power to promote competition

The government has watered down its plans to increase competition in the NHS, and will make health regulator Monitor's core duty to protect and promote patients' interests.

In its response to the NHS Future Forum report on the findings of the Health Bill listening exercise, the government said it would remove Monitor’s powers to ‘promote’ competition.

Monitor will be limited to tackling specific abuses that demonstrably act against patients’ interests, rather than promoting competition, it said.

The health regulator will also be required to support the development of integrated services, the government announced.

It said Monitor would be a ‘sector-specific regulator’ with powers concurrent to those of the Office of Fair Trading. This would ensure that competition was not applied disproportionately, the government said.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: ‘There is a world of difference between a sector-specific regulator and a general one.

‘A sector-specific regulator makes sure you don’t have the arbitrary blanket application of EU competition law.’

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