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15.06.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 4/2018

The European Journal of Health Economics 4/2018

Autonomy and performance in the public sector: the experience of English NHS hospitals

The European Journal of Health Economics > Ausgabe 4/2018
Rossella Verzulli, Rowena Jacobs, Maria Goddard


Since 2004, English NHS hospitals have been given the opportunity to acquire a more autonomous status known as a Foundation Trust (FT), whereby regulations and restrictions over financial, management, and organizational matters were reduced in order to create incentives to deliver higher-quality services in the most efficient way. Using difference-in-difference models, we test whether achieving greater autonomy (FT status) improved hospital performance, as proxied by measures of financial management, quality of care, and staff satisfaction. Results provide little evidence that the FT policy per se has made any difference to the performance of hospitals in most of these domains. Our findings have implications for health policy and inform the trend towards granting greater autonomy to public-sector organizations.

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