BMA demands an end to market-based NHS

Darzi centres have received three times the funding per patient of regular GP practices despite, in some cases, the low number of patients registering with them, according to the BMA.

Dr Meldrum says taxpayers' money is being wasted because of the DoH's 'fixation with market ideology'
Dr Meldrum says taxpayers' money is being wasted because of the DoH's 'fixation with market ideology'

The statement appears in a brochure warning of the impact market-based reforms are having on the NHS, published as the BMA opens its Look After Our NHS campaign to the public.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said he wanted an NHS with 'patients, not profits at its heart'.

'Every day, NHS staff see the waste of taxpayers' money caused by this fixation with market ideology. Particularly as the public purse strings tighten, it is crucial that public money is no longer wasted on expensive commercial experiments,' he said.

'Doctors have already backed the campaign. Now members of the public can show politicians the extent of opposition to commercialisation of their NHS.'

The campaign has brought an angry response from NHS managers and business leaders.

Nigel Edwards, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said banning independent providers in the current economic climate 'would remove a very important source of innovation and change that can help to deliver improvements'.

'It is clear from surveys and opinion polls that the public are far more interested in the quality of care they receive within the NHS than whether it is from an existing or independent sector provider,' he said.

The CBI - the business lobbying group - called for patients to come before politics and said the squeeze on public funds needs 'innovative solutions' not 'trade union activism'.

The BMA's London regional council is also holding an open meeting on 25 February to debate the threats to the NHS in the capital. Both GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman and Dr John Lister, author of the BMA's recent report On The Brink will speak at the event.

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