‘I will remind the audience on Monday, at the BMA ARM that it is a huge privilege to have the trust of our patients,’ Hamish Meldrum, the BMA Council chair, told News Line yesterday
He added: ‘Effective health care relies on trust. Patients depend on the trust they place in their doctors – for their care, the treatment they receive and the decisions we make in partnership with them.
‘Doctors continue to be the most trusted profession of all. I will announce on Monday that a new Ipsos MORI survey finds doctors yet again top of the poll, by some margin, of the most trusted professions – nine out of ten of the public trust their doctor to tell the truth. This is significantly more than the fewer than one in five who trusts government ministers to do the same.
‘The more difficult the decisions we face – the more trust is required – trust amongst all those with a stake in the outcome. And we are facing some very difficult decisions – about how best to continue to improve the NHS, how best to enable more medical breakthroughs and how best to help more people to live longer and healthier lives – in the face of growing demands and tightening finances.
‘It is an honour for doctors to hold this position, but we also recognise that it must never be taken for granted.
‘In times of crisis, trust is more important than ever. This trust will be key to getting through the challenges we face over the next few years. And yet there is a danger that this trust could be put at risk by some of the government’s plans.
‘Doctors will have a greater role in planning and shaping health services and having a greater say about what is best for patients. But this will only work if it is a shared responsibility and the Government must be truthful about its intentions for the NHS and its future.
‘The public are not prepared to let any government gamble with the future of their NHS. And doctors are not prepared to see this trust abused by government policies that could undermine the valued and necessary doctor-patient relationship.
‘We need to work together to find the best way forward
‘We need to tap into the enormous pool of knowledge and experience that doctors and other staff can provide
‘And we need to involve patients and the public to ensure they are an integral part of the decision-making process
‘Whatever decisions are taken next week it will be because we care about the health service and its future.’