Clinicians must be front and centre in plans for NHS reform, says BMA

by BMA media office

Press release from the BMA. 

Location: England
Published: Thursday 11 February 2021

Responding to proposals for NHS reform in England, due to be set out in a White Paper1 today (Thursday), Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:

“While the BMA supports greater collaboration within the NHS, our members and their colleagues need a real chance to assess these plans and their implications. On the back of a year in which doctors have gone above and beyond in responding to the greatest health crisis in a generation, they are now both physically and emotionally exhausted.

“Proposals for sweeping reorganisation on such a scale will need greater time for consideration and must not be rushed through while doctors are still tackling the winter surge in infections, hospitalisations and tragically, deaths.

“The immediate and forthcoming challenge for the NHS will be addressing the greatest backlog of care our health service has ever faced, alongside the continued pressures of Covid-19. This requires significant new resources and an immediate action plan, rather than risk being diverted by a reorganisation of the health service in the midst of the pandemic.

“Since 2012 the BMA has campaigned against wasteful and bureaucratic NHS procurement rules that require all contracts to be put out to competitive tender. While the White Paper proposes ending these competition rules, the BMA has previously expressed concerns that this could lead to awarding contracts without sufficient scrutiny to outsourced providers at huge expense to the taxpayer.

“We have seen the devastating impact of this happening during the pandemic with both PPE and ‘NHS’ Test and Trace. In contrast, where the NHS and clinicians were given the chance to lead, as in the vaccine programme, we have achieved far better progress, demonstrating why the BMA believes that the NHS should always be the preferred provider for NHS services. This is an opportunity to roll back on the expensive and inefficient use of the private sector, not increase it.

“Since its inception the NHS has been subject to countless restructures, and the BMA will be interrogating these latest proposals in detail to ensure that they are informed by the expertise of doctors, and deliver real change that secures a better deal for staff and quality care for patients.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. For more details please contact: [email protected] T: 020 7210 2777 M: 07824 460238

For media enquiries please email [email protected] or call 020 7383 6448

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. For more details please contact: [email protected] T: 020 7210 2777 M: 07824 460238

For media enquiries please email [email protected] or call 020 7383 6448