By Flavia Munn 2 March 2016
Improving patient care at weekends requires proper investment not contractual change, a conference heard.
The BMA consultants conference 2016 heard how a debate was needed about the necessary resources to meet the Government’s commitment for an expansion in seven-day services.
In a speech to the conference in London today, BMA consultants committee chair Keith Brent (pictured) said: ‘If you want to improve care at weekends, it’s not a question of contract change — that’s just a distraction — it’s a question of proper resourcing.
He added: ‘We need a proper discussion across the country about what the NHS can do and what we are prepared to pay for that. The BMA has long called for that.’
Dr Brent added that academic research was being unhelpfully misrepresented by politicians.
‘We need a proper discussion about the weekend effect, not just endless sound bites,’ he said.
Dr Brent also expressed consultants’ support for their junior doctor colleagues in England who are battling against the imposition of a new contract.
‘We, the consultants, stand with [junior doctors]. They are the future of the NHS and patients’ lives will be in their hands long after we have gone. [Government] please listen to them,’ he said.
Consultants at the conference in London also passed a vote of no confidence in health secretary Jeremy Hunt, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and NHS England national medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh.
The BMA is awaiting a final offer from the Government on a new contract for consultants in England and Northern Ireland as talks continue, which ministers want to conclude by the end of this month.
Consultants and other professionals affected, such as junior doctors approaching the end of their training, will have a chance to vote on a final contract offer before a decision to accept or reject it is made by the CC.
Meanwhile, a series of roadshows are continuing across England and Northern Ireland in which consultants can hear further details of the proposed contract changes.
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