The merger involves the two largest NHS acute trusts in Birmingham, requiring a careful assessment of the substantial benefits which the merger would realise for the surrounding population against any perceived reduction in choice for patients.
Pinsent Masons supported the UHB Executive Team, along with a team of specialist economic advisors at NERA Economic Consulting, to deliver effective submissions to the CMA and secure the support of key stakeholders, particularly NHS Improvement.
Kate Collyer, Deputy Chief Economic Adviser at the CMA and the decision maker in the case, said:
“This is the first time the CMA has cleared an NHS hospital merger on the basis of patient benefits at phase 1 and [this] reflects the quality of the benefits case put forward....The hospitals involved presented clear evidence and a well-reasoned case."
The Pinsent Masons team was led by EU and Competition partner Giles Warrington with support from Associate Tim Riisager. Legal Director Graham Fyfe is continuing to advise UHB on the structural aspects of the merger.
“By avoiding a detailed Phase 2 review, as has been required in other NHS Trust mergers, the parties are in a position to finalise the merger and deliver further, major improvements for their patients sooner. This decision also could have potentially positive implications for the wider NHS as other acute trusts consider their merger options.”
Giles Warrington has previously represented Hanson Quarry Products Europe on the CMA's market investigation into the supply of aggregates and cement, while the wider Pinsent Masons EU and Competition team has acted as lead external counsel to E.ON in relation to the CMA's market investigation of the energy market, and to Clydesdale Bank in relation to the retail banking market investigation. In January the firm re-appointed Alan Davis from Jones Day to leads its EU and Competition team.