The Competition and Markets Authority has said a merger of mental health providers would be anti-competitive unless one of the organisations’ hospitals is sold.
The CMA announced today that if the merger of Cygnet Health Care and Cambian Adult Services is to proceed the new entity will have to sell one of its hospitals in the East Midlands, to counter the loss of competition.
The authority said clinical commissioning groups “may face higher prices or lower quality when referring patients” if a sale was not agreed.
It said the combined company would be many times the size of the largest competing provider of male mental health rehabilitation services.
The CMA has cleared the merger in all other regions where the firms operate.
Simon Polito, who chaired the inquiry group, said: “Mental health hospitals are a vital part of our healthcare system, caring for some of the most vulnerable in our society. CCGs, which are under increasing budget pressure, should have access to a range of facilities and treatment options so they can ensure the best possible care.
“We have found that this merger could affect the quality and price of mental health rehabilitation services for male patients in the East Midlands. The companies must now sell off one of their hospitals in this region.”
Cygnet runs 20 mental health facilities across the UK and Cambian runs 61.
A spokesman for Cambian said the company would make no comment at this stage of the CMA’s process.
The HSJ Strategic Estates Forum is taking place on 20 March at BMA House in London. This is a high-level strategic forum that brings together estates directors, STP estates leads and trust board leaders responsible for the estates function who are developing strategic plans for their organisations and local health economies. The focus of the forum is on issues such as the delivery vehicle for the Naylor Report, the creation of Project Phoenix, advice on establishing SEPs (Strategic Estates Partnerships) and assessing progress of STP estates plans. Sir Robert Naylor, National Adviser, NHS Property and Estates; David Williams, Director General of Finance, Department of Health and Simon Corben, Head of Profession, NHS Improvement are all confirmed as keynote speakers for the event. Register your interest for this free-to-attend event on our website: https://strategicestates.hsj.