Bma White Paper ‘Concerns’

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THE BMA has been shocked and shaken by the resistance of its members to the Tory-LibDem NHS White Paper which seeks to make GPs responsible for driving forward the cuts and closures and the privatisation measures that the coalition favours.

GPs are split over the White Paper and there is a very determined resistance to the complete change that the coalition requires in what GPs are contracted to do.

This opposition showed itself at Wednesday’s meeting of the BMA council, which was forced to shift away from its previous position, which was to ‘engage’ with the White Paper and its proposals.

The BMA is now to launch an attack on core elements of the White Paper, which it will warn opens the door to further privatisation of the NHS and could lead to services being provided on the basis of cost rather than quality.

The Council passed a motion at its meeting earlier this week which reads: ‘The Council has significant concern about the direction of travel of the NHS reforms with respect to commercialisation of the NHS as provided in the White Paper.’

Another motion was moved: ‘This Meeting of Council opposes the coalition White Paper proposals because they increase the commercialisation of the NHS, in contradiction to the BMA’s Look After Our NHS principles.

‘It calls for a recall Representative Meeting to discuss this.’

This motion went to a division and was defeated.

The BMA will also now warn that many GPs will not take on commissioning, and are very concerned at the decision to axe PCTs.

Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA’s Welsh Council, said: ‘There was a general concern at the meeting about the increasing privatisation in the NHS which the White Paper seems to be laying the ground for.

‘There is a widespread concern about the direction of travel of the White Paper. At this stage they are still proposals. There is nothing to fight about at the moment.

‘But the BMA has been very accurate in its previous predictions about the private sector.

‘We warned that PFI, for example, would be the albatross around the NHS’s neck it’s become.’