BMA rejects NHS privatisation

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ALMOST every single doctor voted to oppose the introduction and imposition of an insurance-based healthcare system into the UK. The almost unanimous vote took place at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Annual Representative Meeting in Brighton yesterday.

Motion 14 proposed by the London region of the BMA stated: That this meeting:-

i) is opposed to the introduction and imposition of insurance-based healthcare systems in the UK; ii) commends the BMA’s position of opposing accountable care organisations and integrated care systems operating within the current competitive framework in England;

iii) calls for a collaborative universal healthcare system free from market forces and competition; iv) is concerned that healthcare systems are being created in the UK using nonstatutory vehicles without appropriate parliamentary and public scrutiny; v) insists that there is full consultation with the medical profession, the public and parliamentary representatives on any new healthcare systems for the UK; vi) demands that any new UK healthcare systems are created only through primary legislation in parliament.

Coinciding with the conference, the BMA published figures which show the NHS has lost more than 6,000 beds across the country over the last four years, with the union warning that under-resourcing in hospitals is hampering patient care.

The BMA analysis reveals that: • Beds have reduced by an average of 140 per Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) footprint since 2014/15 – a fall of over 6,000 at a national level; • Bed numbers have decreased in 29 of 44 STP footprints since 2014/15; • The largest decrease in bed numbers amongst STP footprints was 21 per cent;

• Bed numbers have increased in some STPs – the largest increase was 22 per cent; • The 10 STP footprints that experienced the largest reduction in bed numbers also saw the most rapid deterioration in performance; • All but three STPs have said they have no plans to reduce bed numbers, in many cases showing significant divergence from their original plans; • Several STPs appeared not to have carried out any analysis of the bed capacity across their health system;

• Projections suggest that by 2019/20, there will be approximately only 125,000 beds in the NHS.

Meanwhile the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Innovation in Medicine 2018 annual conference was also taking place yesterday.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has called on the government to double the number of medical school places from 7,500 to 15,000 to meet the needs of tomorrow’s patients.  Launched at yesterday’s conference, a policy briefing entitled Double or quits calculated how many more medical students are needed.

RCP president Professor Dame Jane Dacre underlined the message in her opening address at the conference, stating: ‘I believe that we have reached the limit of what we can do as a college to influence the workload in individual Trusts.  ‘There is only one conclusion and only one solution, we need more of us, a lot more. ‘A conservative estimate is that we will need 7,500 extra medical students a year – twice the current intake and 227 per medical school.’