The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats were at loggerheads this week over a report that claims voluntary health insurance may have 'a negative impact on the wider healthcare system'and is 'poor value for money'. The report from the London School of Economics also says health insurance 'may increase inequality in healthcare provision'and that most EU governments have abolished tax relief for health insurance because 'it doesn't work'. Lib Dem health spokesman Nick Harvey said the report drove 'a coach and horses through Conservative health policy'. But shadow health secretary Dr Liam Fox said: 'The Conservatives have not promised any subsidies as part of our health policy. This report confirms our view that offering tax relief on individual private health insurance would not be an effective use. '

Voluntary Health Insurance in the European Union. Elias Mossialos and Sarah Thomson. LSE Health and Social Care, tel:

020-7955 6840.