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Markets in health care: the theory behind the policy

James Gubb, Oliver Meller-Herbert, December 2009

In its current state, the NHS functions on the basis of what has been variously called a quasi, mimic or internal market, where providers – NHS, voluntary and private – are theoretically competing and placed on an even footing. With debate around this principle intensifying, this paper revisits the anticipated benefits of the use of market mechanisms; asks on what theory they rest; and where the NHS currently stands.

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