Press release

CMA and Monitor publish guidance on the competition review of NHS mergers

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Monitor have jointly published a short guide on the competition review of NHS mergers.

The guide will help merging providers navigate the review process. It covers the respective roles of the CMA and Monitor, whether and when to notify them about a merger, the stages of review, how the merger review assesses competition and where patient benefits are considered. It is designed as a short introductory guide and is supported by more detailed guidance produced by the 2 bodies.

It also stresses the importance of early engagement with Monitor when considering a merger or similar strategic option and how both Monitor and the CMA can provide informal advice for providers during the early stages of the process.

Alex Chisholm, CMA Chief Executive, said:

We understand this is still new territory for NHS providers and so we want to do all that we can to ensure that they understand the process and know what to expect. That way we can help things run as quickly and efficiently as possible. Both of our organisations are focussed on ensuring that patient interests are the deciding factor in planning NHS mergers.

The CMA has also today published longer and more detailed guidance on how it reviews NHS mergers, aimed at legal and financial advisors working for merging parties. A draft version of this document was published in May and the final version incorporates changes made as a result of the responses received. Monitor has also published more detailed guidance on transactions and how it assesses merger benefits.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading, as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. For more information see the CMA’s homepage.
  2. Monitor is the sector regulator of health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them. More information about Monitor’s role. As sector regulator, it makes sure patients do not lose out through restrictions on their rights to make choices, through poor purchasing on their behalf, or through inappropriate anti-competitive behaviour by providers or commissioners.
  3. For CMA updates, follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn.
  4. Enquiries should be directed to Michael Rosen on 020 3738 6133