The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) cleared the proposed takeover of Heatherwood and Wexham Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in May 2014. Heatherwood and Wexham are two struggling hospitals located near top- performing Frimley Park hospital. The CMA decided to carry out an investigation under the UK merger control rules pursuant to section 79 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which applies to mergers involving NHS Foundation Trusts. The CMA’s competition analysis around such mergers examines whether there are any overall patient benefits, what impact the merger may have on patient choice and whether such a merger could result in lowering the quality of healthcare services. Notably, the CMA can clear a deal if the overall benefits for patients outweigh competition concerns. In its examination, the CMA considered evidence provided by the NHS Trusts and a number of third parties, including Monitor, the sector regulator for health services in England. The CMA’s investigation concluded that the merger would not lead to a material reduction in competition between hospitals in the area nor a loss of choice for patients, as there are a number of other strongly performing NHS hospitals nearby offering similar services. The CMA also concluded that the merger would not reduce the hospitals’ incentives to innovate and improve their services. This recent decision contrasts with the decision made by the UK competition regulator late last year in relation to the proposed merger between Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The UK regulator concluded that there was insufficient evidence to suggest the proposed merger would result in overall benefits for local patients and found the merger would damage patients’ interests by eliminating competition in 55 services; since the NHS Trusts were each other’s closest rivals, such a merger would reduce the Trusts motivation to compete, potentially lessening the quality of patient services.