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ARM demands repeal of 'flawed' act

The BMA should seek a repeal of the Health and Social Care Act in England, doctors and medical students agreed today.

The act was based on ‘flawed ideology that the market knows best’, according to Bristol specialty trainee 1 academic clinical fellow in public health medicine Lucy-Jane Davis.

The BMA annual representative meeting agreed that the BMA should continue to highlight how the act -referred to as the biggest reform of the NHS ever - will lead to increased NHS privatisation, and to ‘monitor and collate information about the effects of the Act on the NHS and the profession’.

BMA council chairman Hamish Meldrum responded to the call for a campaign to repeal the act by issuing some words of caution against putting the NHS through ‘another upheaval’.

Dr Meldrum said, although he was ending his five-year term as chairman when the ARM ends this Thursday, a focus on seeking a repeal of the act would be to ‘fight yesterday’s battle’, distracting attention from the BMA spending its time developing guidance and resources to help doctors to mitigate its negative effects.

However, Dr Davis said: ‘The reason we need to campaign for a repeal is to get all three main political parties to look again [at the act].’

Doctors and medical students later agreed that the act would worsen health inequalities because local authorities had no statutory duty to reduce health inequalities, and health secretary Andrew Lansley was not required to specify how commissioners, regulators and local authorities would be held accountable for reducing health inequalities.

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