Good week to bury bad Health Bill news

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19:  Prime Minister Da...

Cameron and Lansley may well look worried - their Health Bill has attracted massive flak. daylife

But BMA voices concerns over Health Bill

Andrew Lansley is probably breathing a sigh of relief now that Rupert Murdoch, and his battling wife Wendi, are making headline news.

Until the hacking enquiry started, every paper had a large quota of stories on La La’s Health Bill – and they weren’t complimentary.

But come the beginning of last week, all went quiet on the NHS front, when the gnome-like features of Rupert Murdoch and his avenging wife hit the news pages (hope Lansley sent a bunch of flowers to Wendi – she has kept him off many a front page).

So what many papers would have missed is :

BMA Statement on Health and Social Care Bill

The BMA has come out against the Health and Social Care Bill, and resolved that even with the Government’s amendments it cannot support the Bill.

As part of its next steps on lobbying, the BMA will publicly campaign for the withdrawal of the Bill, and also resolved to oppose the Bill until it is satisfactorily modified.

During a BMA Council meeting, they discussed the next steps on the Health and Social Care Bill, and issued a statement “given the continuing concerns of the medical profession around some key aspects of the Bill, the BMA will continue to call for it to be withdrawn, while still critically engaging with the government to achieve necessary improvements”.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, said:  “Whilst the BMA recognises there have been some changes following the listening pause, there is widespread feeling that the proposed legislation is hopelessly complex, and it really would be better if the Bill were withdrawn.

We will continue to critically engage with Government and with the parliamentary process to try to achieve this, whilst continuing to seek further amendments to the Bill.”

The following motions were passed at the Council meeting:

1.        Considers that even with the Government’s amendments it cannot support the Health & Social Care Bill
1.        Resolves to oppose the Bill until it is satisfactorily modified
1.        Resolves to critically engage with Government to achieve improvements and to implement clinical commissioning
1.        Will continue to oppose any Bill which seeks to break down the NHS family and treat healthcare as a commodity to be bought and sold in a commercial market
1.        Believes that the NHS should be provided by public bodies or organisations controlled by professionals who also practise in them, and that the Government should rule out substantial increases in commercial involvement in the NHS just as they have a policy that schools should not make profits
1.        Whilst welcoming the new emphasis on patient choice rather than commercial competition believes that choice must not be prioritised over meeting need, reducing inequalities and optimising resources, and calls for this prioritisation of the different duties to be written into the  legislation
1.        Welcomes progress in engagement with Government on workforce and education, public health and confidentiality but recognises that further progress is needed including writing the outcomes into legislation

That this meeting of Council:
1.        recognises the medical profession’s lack of support for the Health and Social Care Bill;
1.        recognises the lack of support from the majority of GPs for involvement in GP/clinical commissioning as proposed in the Health and Social Care Bill;
1.        rejects the idea that the Government’s proposed changes to the Bill will significantly reduce the risk of further marketisation and privatisation of the NHS;
1.        agrees that the Government is misleading the public by repeatedly stating that there will be ‘no privatisation of the NHS’;
1.        calls for the BMA to start a public campaign to call for the withdrawal of the Health and Social Care Bill.


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