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BMA wary of NHS reform proposals

17 March 2011

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Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's plans to reform the NHS have been heavily criticised by doctors, but they stopped short of rejecting the Health and Social Care Bill outright.

Approximately 400 doctors attended an emergency meeting called by the British Medical Association (BMA) in London to debate and vote on the government's reforms, with 43% in favour of rejecting the Bill completely, with 54% against, and 3% abstaining.

They called on Mr Lansley to "adopt an approach of evolution not revolution regarding any changes to the NHS in England" and that the government must respond to criticisms regarding the Bill and accept ministers had "no electoral mandate" for the plans.

The Bill, which is in the process of going through Parliament, will see more than 150 organisations abolished and 80% of the NHS budget pass into the hands of GPs.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said opposing the Bill in its entirety would have sent "the wrong message" and would have tied the BMA's hands. Instead, the BMA is being urged to renegotiate its content and must keep publicising and opposing the "damaging elements of the Bill".

Meanwhile, Mr Lansley would appear to have the support of doctors with 56% against a no-confidence vote and 39% in favour.

Speaking in favour of the motion, Dr Ian Banks revealed he was "very unhappy" with the way the reforms were being handled.

He said: "If somebody has not done the job properly, you have to ask if they are fit for purpose."

But speaking against the proposal, Dr John Chisholm, a member of the BMA council, said doctors had already made their views on the Bill extremely clear.

"Will passing this motion make the Secretary of State less likely or more likely to engage with the BMA?

"Will it make David Cameron change the Secretary of State or defend him?"

Copyright © Press Association 2011

British Medical Association

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