CMA finalises private healthcare changes

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a final order confirming timescales for reforms following its investigation into the private medical insurance (PMI) market.

The order puts into force some of the changes required by the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA's) investigation including:

  • a crackdown on benefits and incentive schemes provided to referring clinicians by private hospital operators
  • measures to increase the availability of information to patients on both consultant fees and the performance of consultants and private hospitals for the CMA to be able to review future arrangements where private hospital operators team up with NHS private patient units (PPUs) and ban any that might substantially lessen competition

The measure on PPUs will come into force immediately, the CMA confirmed. 

The measures on benefits and incentive schemes and better information for patients will come into force in April 2015 - with the exception of the requirement on consultants' fees which is the subject of an appeal hearing at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in January 2015.

The CMA's decision to require HCA to sell one or two of its London hospitals is also being challenged at the same hearing and will be the subject of a separate order.

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