Earlier this month health secretary Andrew Lansley agreed to change sections of the Health Bill that would make it possible for providers to bid for contracts at a price below the standard NHS tariff.
But speakers at the conference warned that the proposed amendment was not enough. A motion was passed calling on the BMA lead efforts to lobby the government to strip all mention of price competition from the Health Bill.
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Newcastle LMC and GPC member Dr George Rae, who tabled the motion, said price competition in the NHS would be ‘damaging’.
He said: ‘There is clear evidence that price competition leads to the prime focus being on cost and not quality. In this scenario, patients suffer.’
BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum agreed that the amendment proposed by the government did not go far enough.
‘Price competition may have had a bit of wound with the amendment but I’m not sure it is a mortal wound,' he said. 'While this motion will drive a stake through its heart we have to make sure we do everything possible to prevent it from rearing its head.’