DARZI WORKING FOR PRIVATISATION – BMA told

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DOCTORS and other health professionals participated in a conference organised by the British Medical Association in London yesterday to discuss the government’s ‘Healthcare for London – a framework for action’ proposals.

These are the proposals by Professor Lord Darzi for the future of London healthcare, which involve breaking up the NHS in London into specialist hospital centres, local hospitals and privately-run polyclinics.

The discussion was introduced by Dr Tiz North, chairman of the BMA London Regional Council.

She said: ‘We want specialised care where it can be done. We welcome the newer thoughts on specialised care.’

Moving on to community services, she said: ‘It is not a question of shoving 25 GPs into a polyclinic.’

She said: ‘Local hospitals are what most of us would have thought of as cottage hospitals, but there still needs to be a lot more explanation about what it is.’

John Lister, of London Health Emergency, said: ‘Darzi is one report we do not dismiss out of hand.’

Consultant surgeon Anna Athow said: ‘This is the 60th anniversary of the NHS, of comprehensive care, accessible for every person.

‘District General Hospitals, the general practices, are both excellent services.

‘All that’s been happening is money is being put into privatisation reforms.

‘You can’t separate Darzi from the last 10 years of privatisation reforms.

‘We’ve had the purchaser-provider split, millions of pounds of cuts, thousands of beds gone, lots of hospitals have been closed. This is not about improving health, Darzi is the final stage of privatisation.

‘There won’t be specialists and many hospital doctors will lose their jobs in specialties such as obstetrics and the polyclinics mean the end of general practices.

‘Private companies are lining up for everything they can make a profit on.’

She added: ‘I would like to put a motion to this meeting that we oppose the “Framework for action’’ and throw out these privatisation plans.’

The chairman refused to accept the motion, saying: ‘This is not a meeting where we put motions. We are just exploring different points.’