Doctors have the opportunity to reshape the health service and the BMA, as part of a long-term project being championed by the association’s council chair.
Speaking on 8 May at a day-long conference at BMA House to discuss and debate the association’s ‘caring, supportive, collaborative: a future vision for the NHS’ project, Dr Nagpaul said that project would encompass three work streams.
These include changing the culture of the NHS to that of a caring and supportive environment, breaking down barriers to integration within different parts of the health service and addressing the NHS workforce crisis.
As well as seeking to change the health service, Dr Nagpaul added that he hoped the project would ‘reframe’ the BMA itself into an organisation that led and set the health agenda.
He said: ‘How would we organise the NHS to optimise our lives and the lives of our patients? … That is what this project is about, it’s about having a clear, positive vision of what we want as oppose to reacting to what others are actually organising.’
The project, which is in its first of three phases, is running a survey open to all doctors, which aims to develop an understanding of what kind of health service doctors want, and to address the existing pressures and problems preventing this change.
Lack of doctors
Dr Nagpaul said: ‘We all know the NHS is woefully underfunded compared to any other developed nation we would want to compare ourselves with, and it’s translating, of course, into an impoverished infrastructure of [lack of] beds, lack of doctors and inadequate facilities in general practice and so forth.
‘We have an NHS that is structured in a way in which we are fragmented … we do have an NHS that divides us in a very artificial sense between hospitals and general practice, between hospitals themselves, between the community, between social care and the health service.
‘We know we have a workforce crisis and with that an unmanageable workload across the spectrum … [and] we actually have a culture where we feel blamed, we feel scapegoated and, worse than that, significant numbers of doctors feel bullied and harassed in the workplace.’
Dr Nagpaul said that while there was a plethora of existing BMA policies highlighting the various problems blighting the health service, what did not exist was a comprehensive vision for what kind of NHS doctors wanted to see, and how this could be realised.
He said that, at its heart, the project was about developing positive, forward-looking vision of a future health service.
He added that the BMA was uniquely placed to undertake this project because it encompassed and represented all branches of medical practice, and that the association would draw upon these resources in its pursuit of the project.
Find out more about the project and to take part in the survey
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