The CMA and private practice

Find out about the Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the UK’s private healthcare market and what powers the CMA has when guarding against adverse effects on competition.

Location: UK
Audience: Consultants SAS doctors GPs Junior doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
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​CMA report on private healthcare

The CMA's (Competition and Markets Authority) 'Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order' was published in 2014, following a two-year investigation into private healthcare in the UK.

The investigation concluded that certain features within private healthcare markets were leading to adverse effects on competition.

The final order now applies to privately funded healthcare services in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and outlines what powers the CMA has and includes remedies to the issues raised.

Under the order, the CMA can now take various forms of action against PPUs (private patient units), private healthcare providers and referring clinicians to guard against adverse effects on competition.


What does this mean for private practice?

A number of changes have been introduced as a result of the investigation, these include:

  • the appointment of a Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), to provide independent information for private patients on healthcare performance. The website carries information on, among other things, the performance of private hospitals
  • a crackdown on benefits and incentive schemes provided to referring clinicians by private hospital operators
  • the ability for the CMA to be able to review future arrangements where private hospital operators are appointed to operate NHS private patient units and prohibit any such arrangements that might substantially lessen competition.

Read more about the investigation​.