In July 2020, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that a hospital belonging to a large healthcare provider, Spire Healthcare Ltd. (a member of the Spire Healthcare Group), and 7 private, consultant eye specialists, called ophthalmologists, had entered into an illegal agreement. The agreement was to fix the price of initial consultations for private self-pay patients at that hospital. It started in August 2017 and continued for at least two years until the CMA opened its investigation.
Price-fixing agreements can have negative impacts on patients. When the hospital and the consultants decided not to compete fairly by not setting their own prices, this deprived patients of the opportunity to shop around and get the best possible price for their consultation.
This is the CMA’s second case that has involved private ophthalmology services in recent years.