Responding to Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting's speech to the parliamentary press gallery yesterday in which he referred to the BMA as 'producer interests', Professor Philip Banfield, BMA council chair, said:
“We are disappointed to see that doctors who organise with the BMA are being referred to as a “producer interest”, implying that doctors are only looking out for themselves, by the Shadow Health Secretary. This sort of language sets patients against doctors at a time when both are in dire straits.
“When GPs say they are dealing with impossible queues on the phone lines in the mornings they are not complaining for the sake of it – they are warning about a terrible workforce crisis that is the fault of this and previous governments and their short term policies over many years, which Mr Streeting is well aware of. GPs are working harder than ever before. In fact, fewer doctors are seeing more patients:
"GP practices this year had more than a million appointments more in September than the equivalent month in 2020, and did it with 1,808 fewer fulltime equivalent GPs than in 2015.
“We help doctors so they can help their patients: our interests are aligned in sorting out this mess. The same goes for our NHS colleagues, from nurses to cleaning staff, campaigning for better pay and conditions. Politicians from across the political spectrum would do well to remember that.”
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.