Patients will pay the price for the latest delay in the Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry (HMI), which has been suspended until the start of the new financial year in April due to budget constraints, says lobby group Section 27. On Wednesday it emerged that the commission has cut back on investigations and slowed the pace of other market inquiries, including those into public transport and data costs, in a bid to avoid over-spending. The HMI was established to probe the constraints to competition in the private healthcare industry and determine the barriers to patient access. It got underway in 2014, and originally aimed to publish its final report in November 2015, but it has been serially delayed due to a host of factors ranging from litigation to problems in getting the stakeholder data that informed its interim findings. It was due to publish its final report by the end of March, but that deadline will now not be met. On Thursday, Section 27 questioned whether the g...

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