The economic regulation of healthcare

The role of economic regulation in healthcare has grown and changed significantly over the last 30 years.  Regulators in energy, telecoms, water and transport have played a key role in protecting customers’ interests and ensuring long-term sector stability.  Healthcare is learning from their experience but must also develop regulatory regimes that recognise the complexity of the sector.

38 Number of healthcare providers we have worked with across Europe.

In 2013, Monitor became the first sector regulator for health services in England.  We have advised Monitor since it was set up as the regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts in 2004 and helped it in its transition to a fully-fledged economic regulator. As a new regulator, perhaps Monitor’s most important task is marking the way forward for price-setting in the sector. We worked with Monitor on its pricing strategy.

We have worked on NHS finance, including economic modelling of scale and scope, which has a big impact on regulatory issues such as pricing, continuity of service and competition.  We have also worked on benchmarking and efficiency analysis within the NHS – drawing on our experience in other sectors. This means we understand provider performance and its implications for pricing and for improving health services.

We have also worked with the clinical regulator for health in England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  Frontier helped the CQC understand the costs and benefits of clinical regulation, supporting their strategy for maximising the impact – and minimising the burden – of clinical regulation.

In primary care, we have advised on GP contracting and the economics of GP and dental practices. On community services provision, we have advised commissioners on pricing and supply of services.  We helped develop the overall strategy promoting integrated care, covering all aspects of health and social care.

We also support providers, public and private, in their bids for NHS services and regulatory inquiries.

These are universal themes across healthcare sectors in Europe and more widely.  We have worked on similar issues across Europe, most recently considering them for the French healthcare regulator.

Read more on our regulation work.