Today the CED replied to the public consultation launched by the European Commission and the Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Investing in Health (EXPH) on the preliminary opinion on the "Competition among Health Care Providers in the European Union – Investigating Policy Options". The CED strongly welcomed this preliminary opinion and advised for its wide distribution, particularly among European Commission services which are currently carrying out the mutual evaluation and transparency exercise under Directive 2005/36/EC.
The CED stressed that its conclusions should be taken into account by Member States and EU institutions when drafting and proposing any regulation which could affect heathcare professionals and healthcare systems.
The preliminary opinion addresses the role of competition among health care providers as an instrument to improve efficiency in the use of health system resources. It concluded that "There is no golden rule or unique set of conditions that can be met to ensure that competition will always improve the attainment of health systems goals. (...) Competition is unlikely to achieve improvement in all aspects of health system performance at the same time. It will not solve all the trade-offs policy makers face between different and sometimes conflicting health systems objectives." For this reason, "Introducing, increasing or changing competition in health services is a delicate policy exercise. The need for an appropriate regulatory framework should be analysed, and relevant institutions and mechanisms be put in place. (...) Sound policy evaluation studies are also needed to assess and judge the impact of competition, because policy design and policy outcomes are likely to vary from one context to another. (...) Competitin among healthcare providers is distinct from patient choice."
The deadline to reply to the public consultation was extended to 13 April.