Headlines 2013

Competition Improves Quality of Healthcare


On Friday Carol Propper, Professor of Economics and Head of the Health Management Group, Imperial College in the UK was the key note speaker at a seminar organized by IFN and SNS. The seminar was part of cooperation between IFN and SNS:  From welfare state to a welfare society. The theme of the seminar was "Competition in health care: what can we learn from England?" Professor Proppers answer was straightforward: With more competition quality and efficiency increases.

Carol Propper lecturing at the seminar. To the right, Henrik Jordahl, IFN, who moderated the discussion about English healthcare.


A customer choice model, in combination with fixed prices, enhances quality, as measured by survival and shorter hospitalization, explained Carol Propper. And this without an increase in costs. She argued that there is no evidence that with this system in place in the UK inequalities in health care have increased. One effect of the English choice model (which Sweden has adopted primarily in primary care) is that the better hospitals will attract more patients. The less appealing hospitals are those that within the new system become most competitive.

Carol Propper explained that in her studies of the health service in England, she found very little evidence that private care would be inferior to care in the public sector. Possibly, she explained, the patients in the private health care are the "easier ones". Though, private health care today is either the same as or better than health care run by the public sector.

Read an SNS analysis authored by Carol Propper (in Swedish)

Listen to the seminar

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