BMA members demand Health Bill is scrapped

Doctors at the BMA special representative meeting today have backed a motion calling for an end to the top down reorganisation of the NHS and the withdrawal of the Health Bill.

GPs have called on health secretary Andrew Lansley to withdraw the Health Bill
GPs have called on health secretary Andrew Lansley to withdraw the Health Bill

Representatives at the meeting in London passed a motion which called on health secretary Andrew Lansley to withdraw the Health Bill.  

Dr Dr Andy Thornley, of the BMA junior doctors committee, who tabled the motion, said the reforms were an ‘enormous mistake’.

He said it was nolonger possible to ‘tweak the Bill’ and instead called on the government to withdraw it.

‘We are against this Bill,' he said. 'This is not salvageable, we can’t save this Bill from Mr Lansley. The only way forward is to withdraw it.

‘This isn’t evolution… This is enormous. It is too much at the wrong time and it’s happening far too quickly. I don’t believe the NHS is perfect.  What I am saying is the Health Bill as it stands is not the way forward.’

Dr Ian Banks, a member of BMA Council, also warned against trying to amend the Bill outlining that ‘the NHS in its entirety is in danger’.

He said: ‘If somebody is trying to strangle you, there is only so long you can say: "Would you mind using one hand". At some point you going to have to give them the old Glasgow kiss or Liverpool handshake because that’s the only thing they are going to understand.’

But Dr John Canning, GPC member, said that challenging the health secretary was ‘not the answer’.

He said: ‘If we cut ourselves off we will not be able to do the persuading we need to do. We need to work together, get it better, change it. We need to change this Bill, not oppose it.’

Separate stands of the motion, which called for the Mr Lansley to act on the criticisms of the profession and adopt an evolutionary, not revolutionary approach, were not carried. 

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