Merging NHS hospitals is unlikely to bring benefits to patients or taxpayers.
This is the main conclusion of a new report from the University of Bristol's Centre for Market and Public Organisation, which found that previous collaborations in healthcare institutions in the UK during the late 1990s and early 2000s were not advantageous.
Talk of mergers has again surfaced as many NHS hospitals are currently facing financial difficulties.
"Mergers reduce the scope for competition between hospitals. And we know from other recent research that – just as in the private sector – regulated competition may be beneficial in the NHS," said professor Carol Propper, who led the study.
Researchers looked at 200 acute NHS hospitals between 1997 and 2006 and found half to be involved in mergers. Four years after the amalgamations, staff numbers were still the same, while admissions had fallen by ten per cent.
Recently, the Nuffin Trust stated that the NHS could save money by more widely adopting efficient practices