Provincial health departments are doing such a poor job of issuing operating licences to private hospitals that they are stifling competition and potentially depriving patients of cheaper and more innovative care, the Competition Commission’s healthcare market inquiry has warned in a document published on Wednesday. It has suggested a new regulatory regime for licensing healthcare facilities that is likely to stir the pot with both provincial health departments and private hospitals. Not only is it proposing a national set of rules that eliminate provincial health departments’ powers to set their own licensing criteria but it also suggests that provinces consider the need for the services offered when considering whether to award hospital licences. Many licences seem to have been awarded in markets with "excess capacity" and many areas remained underserviced, it said. The system has created a submarket for the sale of hospital licences, but changes in ownership are not scrutinised b...

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