‘Dangerous' and 'unacceptable’ to blame NHS management for backlog, warns BMA

by BMA media team

BMA press release. 

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 5 October 2021
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Responding to reports1 today that as part of proposed reforms for the NHS, due to be announced by the Health Secretary, NHS hospital managers who fail to clear the mounting backlog could be fired, BMA deputy chair Dr David Wrigley said: 

"While more clearly needs to be done to tackle the enormous backlog of care it is unacceptable that the Health Secretary is blaming NHS managers and punishing hospitals already under strain, in what is a very dangerous and counterproductive road to go down. 

“Our hardworking NHS management colleagues have been faced with an increasingly difficult task of overseeing the delivery of care in very challenging circumstances and should be supported to continue doing this to the best of their ability. 

“The backlog is a result of years of underfunding and under-resourcing, alongside the poor handling of pandemic and the Government's own lack of forward planning and leadership.

"Relying on business leaders to solve the problem and scapegoating NHS leaders and staff for a problem of the Government’s own making is a worrying strategy and will only seek to further demoralise an already overstretched workforce. 

"We hope that the Health Secretary will have listened to the voice of doctors ahead of outlining his reforms for the NHS later today, as engagement from the medical and healthcare profession is key in delivering a workable solution to tackling the backlog.

"This is about getting patients timely and effective care and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the health service, which must be underpinned by adequate investment."

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union 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. Report in Times (5.10.21).