BMA votes for Health Bill withdrawal

Doctors have voted for the BMA to continue to campaign for the Health Bill's withdrawal.

Dr Paddy Glackin called on the BMA to continue to call for the Health Bill’s withdrawal

Delegates at the BMA's Annual Representatives' Meeting (ARM) in Cardiff on Tuesday backed London GP Dr Paddy Glackin who urged the BMA to continue to call for the Bill’s withdrawal.

He believed the response of the government to the NHS Future Forum report failed to satisfy the profession's concerns.

Dr Glackin argued also that the duty of the health secretary to provide comprehensive services had not been sufficiently amended, nor had the function of Monitor to promote competition been sufficiently changed.

Dr Glackin warned that the government would promote choice above integration of care.

‘We cannot trust this government to do what it says,’ Dr Glackin said.

Speaking against the motion chairman of the BMA Dr Hamish Meldrum implored doctors to ‘look at the motion carefully’.

Dr Meldrum argued that he believed that amendments to the Bill ensured the duty of the health secretary still remained. He advised doctors that ‘the duty of Monitor to promote competition has gone’.

‘There is still a lot to do, and there is still a lot we can get,’ Dr Meldrum said.

Despite calls from the chairman to reject parts of the motion, it was called in full.

Delegates then moved to vote on a motion presented by Dr Jacky Davis, calling for the BMA to reject the Bill in its entirety.

‘We have been sold a respray job,’ Dr Davis argued.

‘Competition is still there, rebranded as choice, foundation trusts are still there with no cap on private patients.’

‘They took Andrew Lansley’s monster away and they said they were listening and they put some lipstick on the monster and sent it back. This is still a monster with lipstick on,’ Dr Davis said.

Dr Meldrum implored doctors not to tie his hands by voting in favour of the motion.

‘It would be marginalising, it would be isolating, effectively no continuing dialogue could carry on,’ Dr Meldrum said.

The vote was too close to call on a show of hands but was lost on an electronic vote.

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