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BMA challenges NHS reforms

The British Medical Association (BMA) today warned the government that its health reforms risk damaging the NHS. In its official response to July’s White Paper, it expressed particular concerns about the transformation of all NHS trusts into foundation trusts; FT watchdog Monitor being given powers as an economic regulator; the changing of the status and ethos of NHS providers; plans to end government-led commissioning of education and training in favour of more locally led solutions; the potential knock-on effects in the devolved nations; and the extending of choice to ‘any willing provider’.


The response also found time to praise certain aspects of the reforms, such as plans to devolve responsibility to clinicians and patients.

[quote top=BMA council chairman Hamish Meldrum said:]The BMA has given very careful consideration to these wide-ranging proposals, and we hope the government will demonstrate that it really does want doctors to be in the driving seat by listening to what doctors are telling them. Doctors want to build on the principles of the NHS, and to maintain and improve services despite the hugely challenging financial climate.

However, success depends on working in partnership with others, a holistic approach to care and a reduction in bureaucracy. The insistence on a market-based approach risks fragmentation, inefficiency and increased transaction costs.[/quote]