Doctors criticise BMA's stance on NHS reforms

A group of more than 100 doctors has criticised the BMA's position on the NHS reforms and urged the union to take a stronger line against the proposals.

In a highly critical open letter to the BMA and GPC, Clive Peedell, a consultant clinical oncologist, accused the BMA of not representing its members and questioned why it is treating the proposed health reforms as a ‘done deal’.

The letter, which was signed by around 100 doctors including 15 GPs, called on the BMA take a stronger stance against the reforms. It is addressed to '[BMA chairman] Hamish Meldrum, [GPC chairman] Laurence Buckman, and all members of the BMA General Practitioners Committee'.

Mr Peedlell said he had ‘serious concerns’ that the proposed reforms will create a more expensive and inequitable market-based system that will ‘fundamentally undermine’ the NHS.

But he said the BMA’s actions so far have failed to persuade the government to alter its approach.

He said: ‘Mr Lansley’s reform agenda has been widely criticised across the health policy and political spectrum as moving too fast, yet the current approach from the BMA could actually hasten the pace of reform because the association has effectively sent a message to the profession that the white paper is a done deal.’

The letter said the BMA could play a 'crucial role' in saving the NHS, and urged it to take action. 

The letter concluded: ‘The NHS really is in your hands. We understand the pressures you are under, but it is now time to mobilise the profession and stop these damaging reforms, which will not only destroy the NHS but also profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation.'

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