BMA and RCGP warn Health Bill could 'destabilise the NHS'

The Health Bill could 'potentially destabilise the NHS as we know it', according to the heads of the BMA, four medical Royal Colleges and two other professional bodies.

Dr Meldrum: further significant amendments must be made to the Health Bill

The warning is in a joint letter in The Times today signed by BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum, RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada, the Royal College of Nursing's Dr Peter Carter, Professor Cathy Warwick (Royal College of Midwives), Professor Sue Bailey (Royal College of Psychiatrists), Phil Gray (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) and Peggy Frost (British Association of Occupational Therapists) as the Health Bill returns to parliament.

It says: 'The government remains committed to opening up the NHS further to market forces as a priority. Without building in appropriate safeguards, extending choice to any qualified provider risks seriously destabilising existing, mainly NHS, providers and making it much harder to develop the integrated care patients want and need.

'We share a number of more detailed concerns, including the removal of the private patient income cap; 'bonus' payments to clinical commissioning groups and the need for further reassurances over the health secretary's responsibility to provide a comprehensive health service.

'We support a vision of healthcare that is patient focused, clinically-led and based on outcomes. That is why further significant amendments must be made to the Health Bill.'

The Bill is to be debated in parliament today and tomorrow before a vote.

Click here to view the Health Bill interactive timeline

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