Doctors and patients oppose 'disastrous' plans for London's health services

Doctors and patients were called to take action against NHS London's plans for the capital at an impassioned open meeting at BMA House last night.

Dr Buckman condemned ideas to replace hospitals with polyclinics and polysystems
Dr Buckman condemned ideas to replace hospitals with polyclinics and polysystems

Due to a £5bn funding shortfall, NHS London is planning to close a third of London hospital beds, move 55% of hospital work into 'polysystems' and could close 13 district hospitals.

John Lister, of campaigning group London Health Emergency, described the plans as ‘cranky, weird proposals that will not stand up to scrutiny' and called for NHS London to release a report by consultants McKinsey on which the proposals are based.

A third of A&E wards are at risk of closure, while investment in 102 polyclinics are still being planned, he said.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the proposals will 'turn a crisis into a disaster for some patients' and condemned ideas to replace hospitals with polyclinics and polysystems.

‘I am not doing community neurosurgery. GPs cannot replace hospitals,' he said.

Dr Kambiz Boomla, a GP in Tower Hamlets and chairman of City and East London LMC, said the rapid shift of hospital services into the community would be realised as million pound contracts for private providers.

‘These will be multi-million pound competitive tenders. The average GP practice will not be able to manage that risk and the likes of United Health and Atos origin will move in.'

Dr Jacky Davis, a consultant radiologist and BMA Council member, called for doctors in the capital to organise into groups and develop alternative proposals locally.

Bronwen Handyside, from campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, proposed a working coalition of all the organisations present to defend the NHS from such drastic cuts.

‘Let's use our collective strength to tell our politicians, we will not allow you to destroy our National Health Service.'

BMA members were urged to join a march on April 10th against the privatisation of the welfare state and cuts in services.

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