The Competition Commission has announced the postponement of the Provisional Findings and Recommendation Report into the Health Market Inquiry (HMI) to the end of May.
“The Health Market Inquiry (HMI) has postponed the publication of its Provisional Findings and Recommendations Report to 31 May 2018,” said the Competition Commission on Thursday.
The postponement, the commission said, is to afford HMI experts sufficient time to assess and interrogate submissions raised in stakeholder responses, which were submitted to the HMI as recently as 13 April 2018.
The commission initiated the inquiry into the private healthcare sector because it had reason to believe that there are features of the sector that prevent, distort or restrict competition.
The report of the inquiry, which began in August 2014, was due to be released by end April 2018.
In December 2017, the HMI published a series of nine analytical reports, with an invitation to stakeholders to engage with the content of these reports and make submissions by 31 January 2018.
In order to facilitate a fair opportunity to comment on the published expenditure analyses reports, the HMI opened a Data Access Room. This was to allow stakeholders’ external experts and advisors access to the underlying confidential information and data considered by the HMI in the compilation of the expenditure reports.
Three key stakeholders accessed the Data Access Room on various occasions from 25 January 2018 to 28 March 2018.
“Additional time was required by these stakeholders to complete their analyses, in order to fully respond to the HMI expenditure reports. As such, the last stakeholder response was only submitted to the HMI on 13 April 2018.
“Given these time constraints, the HMI decided to postpone the publication of the provisional report for one month, to 31 May 2018, in order to afford time to the HMI’s experts to interrogate and assess the issues raised in the stakeholder responses, and to advise of any issues of materiality that may require consideration,” said the commission.
It said the HMI has taken these steps in order to reassure stakeholders of the integrity of the process and to prevent any further delay that may result from legal disputes.
“The HMI further wishes to thank all stakeholders who have engaged with expenditure analyses reports and have taken the time to make submissions.”