Bill ‘will lead to privatisation’
GP representatives have demanded that the public status of the NHS is enshrined in any new health legislation, warning that the Government's proposed Health Bill will inevitably lead to privatisation of the service - despite Prime Minister David Cameron's assurances to the contrary.
In a motion passed almost unanimously at the BMA's annual Local Medical Committees (LMCs) conference, delegates also rejected the introduction of 'Any Willing Provider' of services.
Proposing the motion, Dr Andrew Taylor, from Glasgow LMC, said the Government had no mandate to revise the founding principles of the NHS. He said that the Bill would inevitably lead to privatisation "because GP commissioning has been set up to fail", adding that most GPs had been coerced into consortia and that, "despite Lansley's claims, membership of consortia does not equate to supporting the Bill".
The motion called on the BMA GPs Committee to actively campaign against the implementation of 'Any Willing Provider' (or 'Any Qualified Provider') on the basis that it will lead to 'cherry picking' of profitable services and the disintegration of NHS providers.
Taylor pointed to reports that existing alternative providers are already pulling out of contracts for financial reasons, warning that such failures would be multiplied "a hundred fold", and "involve high-volume essential secondary care services".
The NHS will be left "to multinational vultures to pick over its corpse and offer the taxpayer - at significantly greater cost - care only for those who fit their profiles for what constitutes a suitable patient," Dr Taylor said.
Speaking in favour, Dr S Maseef from Bolton LMC said that the Bill offered the choice: "The market, or the NHS?" He added that "we should ask the Government to review current and previous [alternative] providers and ask have they been cost-effective, what implications have they had for the NHS already?".
GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011
By Caroline Price