Rob Calder talks to Professor Alison Ritter about her recent paper “Are market mechanisms associated with alcohol and other drug treatment outcomes” and about the Australian context of drug treatment provision and commissioning. They discuss the challenges of measuring outcomes against commissioning structures and Professor Ritter explains how funding arrangements can end up looking like a bowl of spaghetti. Alison discusses why governments don’t necessarily have to tender competitively, about the burdens associated with the machinery of recommissioning and about the potential for fixed-price tendering to improve the quality of addiction treatment services.

“The best versions of competitive tendering don’t compete on price, they compete on quality. In one of our jurisdictions in Australia there is a fixed price competitive tendering process and that’s becoming a bit more common…. and I actually think that that approach where you’re competing on quality, you’re not competing on price, might actually be a much better approach – if you accept that competitive tendering is the best way to purchase health care.” 

The original article can be found here: Ritter, A., van de Ven, K., Vuong, T., Chalmers, J., Dobbins, T., Livingston, M. and Berends, L. Are market mechanisms associated with alcohol and other drug treatment outcomes?. Addiction 2021; doi:10.1111/add.15681

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