The political debate is likely to be dominated by Brexit and the terms of our impending withdrawal from the EU in the run up to the general election.
However, after years of under-investment, our NHS is at breaking point and it is crucial that the health service has the unrelenting focus of prospective parliamentary candidates.
To ensure the NHS isn’t forgotten, and is at the heart of the debate, the BMA has launched a manifesto, which outlines its priority areas for the health service and medical profession. It calls on all political parties to put healthcare at the forefront of their plans.
The manifesto calls for politicians to:
As they hit the campaign trail there are a number of ways in which you can influence your candidates and relay these concerns.
Contacting your prospective parliamentary candidates directly is often the most effective way to lobby. As candidates are selected, and as contact details become available, the BMA will launch an online tool to help you identify politicians standing for election in your area.
It will enable you to contact your parliamentary candidates directly, asking them to support the BMA manifesto and enable you to tailor your message to your constituency and include your own perspective on local health issues.
Bringing a local perspective will help to influence your candidates and ensure the NHS is not forgotten in the debate around Brexit. There may also be pre-arranged local hustings events taking place in your constituency. If there are then try to go along and pose questions to candidates and compare their views on the NHS.
Getting involved in this way will help ensure the health service is central to the continuing debate. The run up to the general election is an ideal opportunity for doctors to try to influence the views of the people who may become their next MPs and, ultimately, the next Government.
David Knowles is a senior public affairs officer at the BMA
Read more about the BMA's manifesto A vote for health
Parliamentary candidates are also patients who would know the crisis situation in the NHS and I wonder if they need to be told as if they did not know. The real problem is a financial crisis nationally which has to be tackled by any political party who wins 8 June 2017 election. I am an ardent supporter and a life member of the BMA. My suggestion is that we do not annoy any political party and develop good relationship with all of them. In this way we should be able to negotiate the best deal possible for the NHS, patients and doctors. A trade union has a political role even if some of them may assume that they are apolitical. Politics is to deal with realities. Doctors are medical politicians who deal with realities every day. Everyone is a patient, whether doctor or politician. Let us think calmly and act with a view to" give and take" in NHS negotiations with winner politicians. This is the only way we can make progress. Dr Bashir Qureshi FRCGP, FRCPCH, AFOM-RCP, Hon FFSRH-RCOG, Hon FRSPH
In the run up to the election the voting public need a repeated memorable, reminder of #NHSbreakingpoint campaign & manifesto. Many of the electorate, for whom health care is essential, do not use social media & may not change their voting preference or even vote, in response to speeches on radio or television. Also there will be new younger people voting for the first time who may not yet need much healthcare. A short musical rhyme to a familiar tune heard on all media may catch their attention & stay with them until 8th June 2017.
e.g. To the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus" ( 4/4 time) sing:
"Fake news on the bus went round & round,
350 million pounds it read,
NHS logo also on that bus,
but none of that money for OUR NHS.
(Refrain) Hashtag(#) NHS breaking point! ( 3 claps optional for break-ing point )
Hashtag(#) NHS breaking point! ( repeat as needed)
Anonymous ( name supplied -Dr C B Ryan, BMA member)
Where in the manifesto is the commitment from our profession to stop waste in the NHS?
At a stroke we have identified savings of over £4 million in our local health economy budget in just 3 areas of health spend: preventing pharmacies from ordering repeat prescriptions and ensuring the GP Practice deals solely with the patient or their nominated carer; preventing unnecessary Vitamin D assays and redesigning the persistent pain pathway leading to significant reductions in ineffective day case procedures.
There will be a multitude of other areas of waste/unnecessary clinical interventions and, as a profession, we have a duty to actively identify and reduce this waste. Pouring more funds into a health care system does not address these issues and having experience of health care systems in Europe and the USA I have seen the evidence of waste in these systems too.
What is required is a mature engagement by our profession with the public and politicians which recognises we are part of the problem and need to be part of the solution.
As a German doctor who has worked in the NHS for over 20 years (and progressed to the grade of consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) I have found myself in the position of deciding where to next. Not entirely light-hearted I have 'embraced' the process of applying for British citizenship- (I might need health and social care in later life and do want to stay- preferably in Europe as well as Britain). I have blogged ( 'Brexit made me do it too') about my journey on wordpress15909.wordpress.com. 'Life in the UK' and language test included....
Is the BMA still a trade union?
Where in the BMA manifesto is there anything about the new contract, or our employment conditions?
Unfortunately most Tories don't need the NHS as they can afford to go private! That too is why most of the real news isn't reported.
The unfortunate gains in the local elections, voted by 38% of the electorate, together with some of the voters interviewed on TV, illustrate just how ignorant some voters are. Brexit is not important when all the other issues are being ignored. We're on our way back to Victorian times: poverty and the workhouse.
Not only can MPs afford to go private, it has been reported that the majority of Tory MPs have shares in private health companies.
There's a perception amongst the middle classes that they pay more in NI than they would for private health insurance. The NHS for them is not a religion and they have no altruism.
Aren't doctors middle class?
Broad smears and accusations are not helpful.
I would like to see more notes on this topic. It could be really http://paper-writing.services/ helpful if you'll make some posts from the various positions, for example.
It is time to bury the NHS. It is not the 'envy of the world': no other western nation has copied it as a model of health care. It provides a poorer service for patients and staff. West European and Antipodean countries all have similar provision of health care providing much higher standards of service to patients and better working conditions for staff. I do not drive a car nor fly in an aircraft designed in 1948. It is time we stopped treating the NHS as a sacred cow or some kind of religion, and designed a health care system for the 21st century. The BMA remains a reactionary body, stuck in a time warp. It too needs to come into the 21st century.
I agree with some parts of the above comment. I do believe that a system that does not aim to make a profit can be more cost effective than one that has shareholders, but then i also acknowledge that it is subject to civil service beaurocracies, personal agendas, personal vanities, and political ideologies, as well as being very vulnerable to abuse and health tourism. As was noted in an episode if yes minister, beaurocrats, who cannot quantify their success by profit, may do it instead by the size of their budgets, staff, and office space. I certainly never heard of a government department ever requesting that its budget be cut.
Ultimately, whatever system we have should have a democratic mandate. The Americans can, and have, voted on what system they want. I think it's time the Brits got their chance.
As a side - in total agreement about the appalling working conditions
Is it right for my GP to send all his patients a letter asking them to vote for the Labour Party to save the NHS ?