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Would Roman Soldiers Fight for the Financial Flows Regime? The Re-issue of Diocletian's Edict in the English NHS


  • Andrew Street
  • Sawsan AbdulHussain


Some 17 centuries after the Roman Emperor Diocletian attempted to set prices across the Roman Empire, a system of national prices (tariffs) is being introduced to the English National Health Service (NHS) to enhance patient choice. Initially, fixed prices will apply to 15 treatments. Costs for these treatments as reported by all NHS providers are examined to ascertain whether the data provide a robust basis for price setting. If prices are calculated such that providers are unable to recover the true costs of efficient service provision, considerable financial disruption could result for no good purpose. The authors explain the lessons that should have been learned from the Roman experiment and the changes that need to be made to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
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Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Street & Sawsan AbdulHussain, 2004. "Would Roman Soldiers Fight for the Financial Flows Regime? The Re-issue of Diocletian's Edict in the English NHS," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 24(5), pages 301-308, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:pmomgt:v:24:y:2004:i:5:p:301-308

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    Cited by:

    1. Diane Dawson & Hugh Gravelle & Mary O'Mahony & Andrew Street & Martin Weale & Adriana Castelli & Rowena Jacobs & Paul Kind & Pete Loveridge & Stephen Martin & Philip Stevens & Lucy Stokes, 2005. "Developing new approaches to measuring NHS outputs and productivity," Working Papers 006cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York, revised Dec 2005.
    2. Adam Oliver, 2005. "The English National Health Service: 1979-2005," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(S1), pages 75-99.

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