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The BMA calls for Boris Johnson to revise Tory pledges

By Isabel Shaw
13 December 2019

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The BMA is calling the prime minister and his new government to make changes to the NHS in order to make the NHS ‘a strong and sustainable source of pride’. 

In a letter sent to Boris Johnson today, the BMA’s council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul outlined key challenges and solutions to issues the NHS is facing.

The Conservatives have pledged an annual increase in total health expenditure of 3.1% per year, which will result in a shortfall of £6.2 billion by 2023/24, according to estimations by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. This, according to Dr Nagpaul, will reduce patient access to quality care to an ‘unacceptable level.’  

Dr Nagpaul acknowledged that the Conservative’s pledge to increase workforce numbers does ‘reflect the dire situation’ of dangerously high waiting times. However, he added that ‘they fail to reflect the realities of recruitment and the time it takes to train new clinicians’. A pay uplift is necessary in order to retain current NHS doctors, he added.

The BMA is supportive of the party’s new legislation to end competitive tendering in the NHS in England, said Dr Nagpaul. However, he advised that the NHS is reinstated as the preferred provider of services. 

The BMA also advised that preventative health measures be ‘prioritised by the Government with sufficient funding to undo previous cuts.’ These measures include more smoking cessation services, the sugar levy, and alcohol reduction services as these are thought to reduce health service uptake, thereby reducing overall system pressures, he said. 

The letter also highlighted concern over the impact Brexit will have on patients, the healthcare workforce and health services across the UK and Europe and stressed the importance of avoiding a no-deal situation.

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