Non-price competition in NHS secondary care contracting: empirical results

Mark Bailey, Keith Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is, for English acute NHS hospitals, to investigate how they operate their governance systems in the area of secondary care contracting and identify the key determinants of relationship building within the contacting/commissioning of secondary care focusing upon non-price competitive behaviour.Design/methodology/approach – A survey instrument was designed and mailed to a sample of all acute NHS hospitals in England of whom 35 per cent responded. This survey was then analysed using logit techniques.Findings – The analysis suggests that: those NHS Trusts offering volume discounts, non-price competitive incentives or having a strong belief in performance being by “payment by results” criteria are significantly more likely to offer augmented services to secondary care purchasers over and above contractual minima; those NHS Trusts strongly believing in the importance of non-price factors (such as contract augmentation or quality) in the contracting process are more likely to offer customisation of generic services; and those NHS Trusts using cost-sharing agreements to realign contracts when negotiating contracts or who strongly believe in the importance of service augmentation in strengthening relationships, or that increased hospital efficiency is the most important aspect of recent NHS reform are more likely to utilise default measures to help realign contracts.Originality/value – This paper fills a gap in the area of non-price competition in English NHS acute secondary care contracting.Keywords England, National Health Service, Secondary care, Contracting out, Competitive strategyPaper type Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-495
JournalJournal of Health Organization and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Oct 2008


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