School of Law

Professor Erika Szyszczak presents seminar about Competition Law and the NHS at the School of Law

18 February 2015 |

Professor Erika Szyszczak presents seminar about Competition Law and the NHS at the School of Law

On the 21 of January 2015 the Centre for Business Law and Practice hosted a seminar on “Introducing Competition Law into Healthcare Nationalising the NHS”.

The speaker was Erika Szyszczak, Professor of Law at the University of Sussex and  a practising barrister at Littleton Chambers, Temple. In this seminar she presented her research on the various changes taking place in the modernisation of the welfare state in Europe, taking the recent re-organisations of the English National Health Service  as a case study. Prof Szyszczak argued that the NHS will be one of the central contested issues of the forthcoming General Election in May 2015, evoking emotive responses from allegations of "privatisation" of the NHS through the contracting out of services, to the charges of inefficiency and a waste of public money due to the increased cumulative spending on healthcare. 

In her talk Prof Szyszczak argued that under EU rules the Member States have a degree of latitude in organising social and public services and this is regarded as a good idea - allowing for diversity and experimentation in modernising the welfare state. Thus this allowed for comparisons between different models of funding health services based either upon insurance or taxation. But in England, she argued, that far from "privatising" healthcare the model of "contracting in services", which formed the basis of the original NHS, continues to underpin the model of organisation of the NHS.

There was a lively debate - with members from the medical profession in the audience - on how to measure the effects of healthcare reforms, what indicators could be used to measure the effects of one scheme over another, and how to measure the effects of introducing competition in the NHS.

Profess Gerard McCormack, Director of the Centre for Business Law and Practice, said:

"Professor Erika Szyszczak gave a highly stimulating seminar that focused on the growing  'marketisation' and commercialisation of the NHS and the effect of competition  among NHS providers for the future of the NHS.  These issues will no doubt be extensively debated among all the main political parties in the UK in the run-up to the General Election on 7th May.  The audience for the seminar was drawn from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and it was fantastic to see students and the medical profession were heavily represented". 

Details on other upcoming Centre for Business Law and Practice seminars can be found on the School of Law Events page. 

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