BMA leaders call for Lansley to quit as Lords prepare to debate reforms
By Abi Rimmer, 08 February 2012
BMA leaders in London called for health secretary Andrew Lansley to resign as the House of Lords prepared to debate proposed amendments to the Health Bill.
Speaking at a BMA London Regional Council meeting on Tuesday, BMA London chairman Dr Kevin O’Kane said: ‘Lansley has to go - he’s got to go and take his Bill with him.’
GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul told the meeting that the Bill was 'scandalous'. ‘It is scandalous we’re creating more bureaucracy and quangos,’ he said.
He also raised concerns over the potential power that commissioning support services would have over CCGs, with GPs forced to become their customers. ‘We will see NHS services commissioned by bodies with no loyalty [to the NHS],’ he warned.
RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada also spoke at the meeting, warning that the reforms could take GPs away from their primary role as providers of primary care.
‘If you ever hear the word GP mentioned now it is always in the context of commissioner, it is never in the context of a provider. And what we do best is provide care for patients.’
Dr Jacky Davis, a BMA council member and founder of protest group Keep Our NHS Public argued that the BMA must step up its public campaign against the Bill, and called for royal colleges to stand together against it.
‘The message today is we can defeat the Bill. The message today is we can get rid of this Bill,’ she said. ‘If the royal colleges had stood up and said "This Bill we cannot stand", it wouldn’t have lasted longer than a snowball in hell.’
Calls for Lansley to resign
At the close of the BMA meeting Dr O’Kane called for all BMA members to join a TUC march on 7 March against the Bill.
Mr Lansley also faced a call to resign from Craig Barrett, a former Conservative council candidate, on the Tory Reform Group's Egremont blog. Mr Barrett wrote: 'For the good of the NHS, Andrew Lansley must admit defeat and head to the backbenches.'
The Bill will now enter the report stage in the House of Lords which is expected to last around three days. The Lords will review the most recent amendments tabled by the government.
Crossbench peer Lord Owen warned ahead of the vote that the amendments were insufficient to address concerns about the Health Bill: 'As we come to report stage in the House of Lords it is crystal clear that despite the best efforts of all those concerned and despite the many amendments that will be passed, the fundamental structure will remain intact.'
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