BMA to campaign for Health Act repeal but no GP commissioning withdrawal

BMA representatives have voted for the union to campaign to repeal the Health and Social Care Act after rejecting calls to ballot for the withdrawal of GPs from commissioning.

Dr Irvine: 'GPs will have all the blame and none of the power. Our positions as GPs will be untenable.’

In a heated debate at the Annual Representatives' Meeting today in Bournemouth, Dorset, representatives carried a motion in all eight parts by an overwhelming majority instructing the BMA on what next steps to take.

The motion urged the BMA to highlight how the Act will lead to privatisation and to continue to call for the publication of the NHS risk register into the dangers of implementing the reforms.

Despite the outgoing chairman’s Dr Hamish Meldrum’s opposition to using the union’s money to try to repeal the Act, representatives voted for it.

Dr Meldrum said: ‘I really think the BMA would be better spending its time supporting people who are fighting with aspects of the Act rather than just trying to repeal the whole Act, which I think is a difficult thing to do.’

Greater Manchester GP and BMA council member Dr Kailash Chand had to be told several times to stand down from the stage after he tried to speak on the issue.

Public health registrar Dr Lucy-Jane Davis who proposed the motion received a large round of applause after she told the conference: ‘The reason we need to campaign is to get through to all three of the main parties to get them to look at this again and actually repeal it. We need to make there be a will’.

The conference was told by the BMA’s treasurer such a ballot, if based on the last one on pension action, would cost between £100,000 to £200,000.

South London GP Dr Louise Irvine lost her rider to one of the motions, to call for the BMA to ballot ‘all GPs to boycott involvement in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) both at a practice and board level’.

She said: ‘GPs are being told we have to be brave. And take the flack. GPs will have all the blame and none of the power. Our positions as GPs will be untenable.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey spoke out against the rider, stating that it would lead to more private company involvement in commissioning.

  • Follow GP senior news reporter Marina Soteriou on Twitter @Marina_Soteriou for #ARMLive updates #GPNews

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