Does hospital competition improve efficiency? The effect of the patient choice reform in England

from Health Economics at on February 28, 2019 at 08:47AM


We use the 2006 relaxation of constraints on patient choice of hospital in the English NHS to investigate the effect of hospital competition on dimensions of efficiency including indicators of resource management (admissions per bed, bed occupancy rate, proportion of day cases, and cancelled elective operations) and costs (reference cost index for overall and elective activity, cleaning services costs, laundry and linen costs). We employ a quasi differences‐in‐differences approach and estimate seemingly unrelated regressions and unconditional quantile regressions with data on hospital trusts from 2002/2003 to 2010/2011. Our findings suggest that increased competition had mixed effects on efficiency. An additional equivalent rival increased admissions per bed by 1.1%, admissions per doctor by 0.9% and the proportion of day cases by 0.38 percentage points, but it also increased the number of cancelled elective operations by 2.5%.