NO CONFIDENCE IN HUNT! BMA votes for repeal of Health & Social Care Act

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ANGRY doctors yesterday delivered a vote of No Confidence against Tory Health Secretary Hunt.

Doctors at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) in Edinburgh cheered as they voted unanimously for motion 22.

This noted ‘the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s attack on the NHS and his comments about mediocrity and coasting,’ adding it ‘has no confidence in the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt’.

The BMA ARM also voted for Motion 129 which stated: ‘That this meeting asserts that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 is bad for patients, bad for the NHS, and bad for the public.

‘This meeting demands the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and calls for a coordinated campaign to achieve that aim.’

Moving the No Confidence in Hunt motion, Dr Jacky Davis said: ‘This agenda contains a huge wave of anger from doctors on behalf of the NHS and our patients.

‘Motion after motion describes the damage done by the government’s ideological assault on the service and on NHS staff.

‘Leading the assault is the Health Secretary’.

She added: ‘He is at the forefront of the new political “blame game” – blaming frontline NHS staff for the predictable chaos resulting from reforms and cuts.’

She continued: ‘The Health Secretary is ready to blame anyone and anything rather than put the blame where it really belongs – with his government and their cuts, closures, rationing and the debacle of NHS111, as well as the infamous mess of the Health and Social Care Act.’

She warned, ‘This new cunning plan fits neatly with the old one, namely, cut back the service, cut back the staff, and then claim the NHS can only be rescued by the private sector.

‘We are watching a good service deliberately being brought to its knees by the vandals in Westminster.

‘Cameron signalled his intentions for the NHS when he put Jeremy Hunt in charge. He knows this Health Secretary doesn’t believe in the NHS.

‘He spends his time alarming patients, demoralising staff and denigrating the service.’

She added: ‘You may hear people saying not to tie our hands by passing a vote of no confidence.

‘We heard this endlessly during the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, and obeyed, and where did it get us.

‘The government didn’t just tie our hands, it trussed us like a turkey. But where did it get us.

‘How much longer are we going to put up with this – with the government treating the NHS like a car-boot sale and blaming the staff for the resulting mess.

‘We are a doctors’ trade union, let’s start behaving like one. Let’s start by sending an unequivocal message out today, to the government and importantly our fellow NHS workers, “Doctors have No Confidence in this Secretary of State”. Please support unanimously.’

Speaking for the motion: Dr Paul Hobday, from the South East Coast, asked: ‘How can we have confidence in a man who wants to put in place the privatisation of the entire NHS.

‘He should have left government anyway over his dodgy relations with Murdoch.’

In his advice to conference, BMA Chairman Dr Mark Porter said that the issue of personalities had been raised before, but this is a government that goes out of its way to act against the interests of patients.

‘Any Health Secretary that follows him will be just the same, so feel free’ (to vote No Confidence).

Earlier, the ARM voted overwhelmingly for Motion 17, which opposes further privatisation of the NHS and calls on the BMA to work with the public and other stakeholders to defend it.

Mover Dr Indeewar Kapila from Manchester said: ‘Support the motion to stop the invasion of private providers, and the carving up of the NHS by the government.’

Speaking for the motion Jackie Applebee from Tower Hamlets said: ‘Privatisation is undermining the NHS.

‘The BMA must redouble our efforts to reclaim our NHS from the privateers.’

Representatives also voted overwhelmingly for Motion 18 which opposes any reconfiguration that is driven purely by financial considerations.’

Moving the motion, Dr Ian McNab for the Consultants Committee warned: ‘South East London is an example of the blunt implementation of financial considerations.’

The ARM also voted for Motion 19 which stated: ‘Delivering emergency care is not the same as providing comprehensive non-urgent, elective and planned care on a 7-day, 24-hour basis’.

Representatives voted for Reference Back on Clause 2 of the motion which called on the BMA to work with the Royal Colleges, employers and government on delivering 24-hour care’.

Mover Dr Chaand Nagpaul from Edgware in London, said: ‘The issue of weekend care has nothing to do with the government mantra to provide routine care seven days a week.

‘It is folly to compare that with 7-day opening of Tescos. Unlike Tescos the NHS does not bring in more money by opening on Sundays’.

He pointed out the NHS would face extra costs because it would have to employ many more staff to support doctors working on weekends.

Speaking against section 2 of the motion, Mrs Anna Athow said: ‘They want consultants to come in in the evenings and at weekends to do elective surgery, outpatient clinics, and diagnostics at no extra cost.

‘This is about making the new super-hospitals they are planning attractive for the new commercial owners, with 24/7 elective work to make a profit.’

The second part of the motion was voted as a reference to Council with BMA chair Dr Porter saying he ‘shared Mrs Athow’s concerns’.