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Competition Commission data challenged

Legalbrief Today recently reported:

The Competition Commission’s preliminary report into the private healthcare industry came under fire at the Hospital Association’s annual conference recently when a lawyer described the data as flawed.

According to a Beeld report, Anthony Norton, of law firm Nortons Inc, said in his presentation the findings and recommendations of the commission should be reviewed as there were major problems with the data. He said the commission had used ‘old data’ – dating from 2010 to 2015 – to ascertain market share of the hospital groups.

The commission found that Mediclinic, Netcare and Life Healthcare, with approximately 30% each, dominate the market. ‘What the panel didn’t consider at all is what has happened in the sector since 2015,’ Norton said. He argued that the majority of hospital licences have been awarded to the National Hospital Network (NHN) and other independent hospitals since then.

‘The NHN has a markedly larger market share than it had three years ago’, but the preliminary report doesn’t list NHN as a significant player, he noted. Nicola Theron, of Econex, agreed with Norton that the NHN should have been included in the analysis. ‘When this group’s figures are taken into account, the sector is not heavily concentrated anymore, but only mildly so.’

According to the different role-players’ websites, the NHN has 68 hospitals and 57 day clinics in the group, Mediclinic has 51 hospitals and three day clinics, Netcare has 54 hospitals and Life Healthcare 65.

As this is just the preliminary report, we hope that the final report will be adapted to be inclusive of all the latest statistics. Making long-term plans based on outdated data is a recipe for disaster.

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