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Clegg against NHS competition plan

Plans for a regulator to promote competition within the NHS will be opposed by Nick Clegg, the BBC has claimed.

A policy document stating that the NHS must not be used like a 'utility' with its 'own economic regulator' has been signed off by the Deputy Prime Minister.

Instead, he said that collaboration rather than competition should be promoted by a regulator. This stance is at odds with the position taken by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who aims to push down prices by increasing competition within the heath service - a key element to the government's health service reforms.

Finance watchdog Monitor has been singled out by Mr Lansley in the blueprint of his Health and Social Care Bill as an organisation that could be responsible for promoting competition in the provision of health services.

However, Mr Clegg believes Monitor should instead promote and protect the interests of the patient.

Addressing fellow Liberal Democrat MPs and peers at a meeting on Tuesday night, he said he would "never let the profit motive get in the way of the essential purposes of the NHS".

The policy document, obtained by the BBC after being signed by the Liberal Democrat leader, says: "We cannot treat the NHS as if it were a utility, and the decision to establish Monitor as an 'economic regulator' was clearly a misjudgment, failing to recognise all the unique characteristics of a public health service, and opening us up to accusations that we are trying to subject the NHS to the full rigours of UK and EU competition law."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Health and Social Care Bill

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I don't believe in competition. Instead, people sgould be judge according to the level of their education, experince, skills, knowledge and personality and put them in a correct position or level in various work place. An individual with a professional background with a degree or Masters should be given an opportunity to demonstrate their skills on the
appropriate level. It's obvious that if a professional nurse or a pharmacist or doctor own a degree, it is automatic that the person has all the requirements to perform at a senior management post as a degree certificate is not easy to obtain.
Equal opportunity should be addressed on educational/professional level instead of talking about competition. We should discuss about demonstration of skills and knowledge of all health professionals (whatever your specialty) based on years of experience and ability to show good leadership skills instead of talking about competition" - Maryam Omitogun, London