Uncertainty over the role of the independent sector is likely to result in higher costs to the NHS, less innovation and a 'muddle' which will put patients in danger, the King's Fund has warned.

Uncertainty over the role of the independent sector is likely to result in higher costs to the NHS, less innovation and a 'muddle' which will put patients in danger, the King's Fund has warned.

Its report, Designing the 'New' NHS: ideas to make a supplier market in health care work, says the government must state 'unequivocally' that it wants to create a health market with different providers if its current health reforms are to work.

It adds that it is still not clear whether the government is committed to a 'supplier market' or whether 'limited competition' is seen as a 'tool' to improve NHS performance