Labour accuses BMA of trying to derail health policies

The BMA attempted to derail the government's key health policies, the chairman of Labour's backbench health group has alleged.

Hamish Meldrum
Hamish Meldrum

John Grogan, the MP for Selby, told a fringe event at the party's conference on Tuesday that: 'The BMA really tried to mess up one of our most important policies, which was to extend GP provision.

'And it launched an absolutely scurrilous campaign against polyclinics.'

All speakers at the event, organised by Compass, opposed the marketisation of healthcare. But Mr Grogan said the BMA was speaking from a 'different position' to the others.

Some policies 'may be entirely in the producers' interest', he said. 'But sometimes we need to stand up to those interests.'

BMA council chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum responded that the union had never opposed the policies in themselves, but merely the inflexible way in which they'd been imposed.

He compared the extended hours policy to demanding a surgeon not only work later, but pay for the electricity and nursing staff needed to do so.

He added: 'I chair a membership organisation, and I make no apology for defending the interests of my members.'

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