No government comes into office without plans to reform the NHS. In the late 1990s, after initially rejecting the Conservatives’ internal market, the New Labour government pursued a set of policies to reinvigorate the market in the English NHS. Did it work and what lessons are there for the current reforms?
Understanding New Labour’s Market Reforms of the English NHS seeks to answer this question. Edited by Nicholas Mays, Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Health Services Research and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Anna Dixon, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, and Lorelei Jones, Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, this book provides the first comprehensive review of the evidence on New Labour’s market reforms.
The book integrates the findings from a series of important research projects co-ordinated by Nicholas Mays and commissioned and funded by the Department of Health with the available evidence from a wider range of other sources to assess the impact of New Labour’s market-led changes. Each chapter, written by a leading expert in health policy research, takes a different aspect of the reforms and considers its objectives, implementation and impact. There are chapters covering patient choice, Payment by Results, commissioning, provider diversity, and regulation. The book also includes a chapter specifically looking at the local implementation of the reforms and how the ambitions of policy-makers were realised in practice.
The book concludes with a synthesis of the evidence presented and assesses the implications for the current coalition government as it embarks on yet another period of radical market-led reform in the English NHS.