Lansley leans on Royal Colleges

Marching against the Health Bill on the 63rd anniversary of the NHS last year
Marching against the Health Bill on the 63rd anniversary of the NHS last year

After a joint meeting on Thursday hosted by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing, the following joint statement was issued:

‘A number of Medical Royal Colleges, the BMA, the RCN and organisations representing other clinical professionals, met today (26/1/12) to discuss their approaches to the Health and Social Care Bill. There was a useful exchange of information and an agreement to continue the dialogue.’

The Academy had discussed the following statement on Tuesday night: ‘The medical royal colleges and faculties of the Academy continue to have significant concerns over a number of aspects of the health bill and are disappointed that more progress has not been made in directly addressing the issues we have raised.

‘The Academy and medical royal colleges are not able to support the bill as it currently stands.

‘Unless the proposals are modified the Academy believes the bill may widen rather than lessen health inequalities and that unnecessary competition will undermine the provision of high quality integrated care to patients.’

It was planned to publish the statement late on Wednesday morning, ahead of Prime Minister’s questions.

But the statement was withdrawn after Health Secretary Lansley, along with senior officials, telephoned the presidents of the colleges asking them to reconsider releasing the statement.

Speaking in a personal capacity, BMA Council member Anna Athow said yesterday: ‘The royal medical colleges play an important role in medical education and training, but they are not trade unions or very democratic. Sections of their leading personnel work closely with the government on the privatisation reforms.

‘The BMA, RCN and RCM have been mandated by their members to completely oppose this Bill. Their main orientation needs to be to the other health unions and the whole trade union movement and the public.

‘BMA Council voted for a rapid public campaign to oppose the Bill last November. This is what needs to be put in place urgently.

‘The TUC and health unions need to re-activate NHStogether and organise the hugest campaign of mass action to oppose the Bill.’