Monitor updates its approach to competition and advises CMA to clear Berkshire merger

Monitor has changed the way it gets advice on competition issues. It will replace the stand-alone Co-operation and Competition Panel with two experts to provide the advice as part of Monitor's routine decision-making processes. Two members drawn from the CCP John Swift QC and John Wotton will attend meetings of the Co-operation and Competition Executive - the internal group, chaired by Monitor Chief Executive Dr David Bennett, that oversees the regulator's competition work.

Dr David Bennett, Chief Executive at Monitor, said 'We would like to thank all of the CCP members for their hard work and invaluable advice over recent years. Special thanks go to Lord Carter of Coles who chaired the panel since it was established in 2008. The new arrangements mean that we will have the right expertise around the executive table when we make our decisions on competition matters.'

Following the advice of Monitor the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the proposed merger of Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Foundation Trust and the neighbouring Frimley Park NHS Foundation Trust.

Heatherwood and Wexham Park was put in special measures last week after the Care Quality Commission found care was inadequate and the trust was not well-led. Monitor advised the CMA that the proposed acquisition was the best available solution to the problems faced by Heatherwood and Wexham Park and the most likely way to achieve improvements in services for patients. It also advised the merger was likely to deliver a quicker and more sustainable solution to the issues faced by the trust than further regulatory intervention.

Monitor will now undertake a detailed review of the merger proposals to ensure that the risks around sustainability of the enlarged organisation are identified and managed appropriately.

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