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Government and doctor collaboration will improve care

Government and doctor collaboration will improve care

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The Government should collaborate with doctors to prioritise investment that will help deliver “the best possible care” for patients claims the British Medical Association (BMA).

The BMA believes that this will ensure changes to services will be clinically rather than politically driven and will better meet the needs of patients.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “We believe patient need – not political rhetoric – should decide what services are available over seven days, which is why the BMA has repeatedly called for the Government to work with doctors.

“In doing so we can ensure the most seriously ill patients have access to the best possible care around the clock. Only once this has been achieved can the debate begin as to what other services the NHS can afford to deliver within the current work force and budget.”

The announcement comes following their submission of evidence to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) on doctors contracts.

Contract negotiations were referred to the DDRB in October 2014 following concerns regarding the safeguarding procedures in place to protect patient safety and the welfare of medical staff.

In its submission, the BMA reiterated its support for seven-day services, calling for urgent and emergency care to be the priority for investment, and for adequate safeguards around working hours and patient care. The submission also calls for detailed evidence and modelling from the Government on the changes it wants to introduce.

Dr Porter said: “The BMA has been clear in its support for better seven-day services, but the Government needs to be clear about what an expansion of services will look like and, crucially, how it can be safely staffed and resourced, without existing services being scaled back. Doctors already work around the clock, 24/7, so the existing contract is not a roadblock to seven-day services.

"Throughout negotiations the BMA emphasised the need for the contract to include safeguards for patients and doctors, and we have reiterated this in our evidence.”

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