Competition Commission
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CC to investigate hospitals merger

The Competition Commission (CC) is to investigate the proposed merger of the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH) and Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (PH).

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has referred the merger to the CC, which will decide whether the acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition.

This is the first merger between two NHS foundation trusts to be examined by the CC since the enactment of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA), which confirmed the OFT and CC’s roles in assessing the competition aspects of mergers involving foundation trusts.

The hospitals both provide a wide range of hospital and community-based services to patients in Dorset. RBCH has 601 beds on two sites. PH has 606 beds, also on two sites. This merger will combine the only two NHS district general hospitals in Bournemouth and Poole, which compete across a range of clinical specialties, in many cases earning income based on the number of patients referred to them.

The CC is expected to publish its final report by 24 June 2013.

The CC would like to hear from all interested parties, in writing, by no later than 29 January 2013.

To submit evidence, please email RBCH.PH@cc.gsi.gov.uk or write to:

Matthew Weighill
Inquiry Manager
Bournemouth/Poole NHS merger
Competition Commission
Victoria House
Southampton Row
LONDON
WC1B 4AD

Notes for editors

1. The CC is an independent public body, which carries out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries.

2. The Enterprise Act 2002 empowers the OFT to refer to the CC completed or proposed mergers for investigation and report which create or enhance a 25 per cent share of supply in the UK (or a substantial part thereof) or where the UK turnover associated with the enterprise being acquired is over £70 million.

3. The CC has a 24-week period in which it is required to publish its report, which may be extended by no more than eight weeks if it considers that there are special reasons why the report cannot be published within that period.

4. Further information on this inquiry, including the terms of reference and other key documents, as well as on the CC and its procedures, including its policy on the provision of information and the disclosure of evidence, can be obtained from the CC website at: www.competition-commission.org.uk.

5. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor or Siobhan Allen or by ringing 020 7271 0242.

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