Friday, 1 July 2011

BMA rejects health reforms - for the second time!

David Cameron and Nick Clegg were quick to call their 'listening exercise' a 'success', and point out how much the NHS reform bill is being changed ... however, doctors and the BMA have been just as quick to reject it! 

In its annual conference this week the BMA overwhelmingly rejected plans to reform health and social care in England, saying the government could not be trusted.

Hamish Meldrum, head of the BMA, who recently referred to the Government's 'slash and burn' approach to NHS reform, was also quick to point out one particular area of concern ... potential conflicts of interests resulting from proposed payments to GP's (known as the 'quality premium'). 

He said the "Government's plan to reward GP's for 'doing well' in commissioning, in arranging services for their patients, will damage the trust patients have if GP's are seen to be paid for just organizing their services, or maybe, in patients minds, being paid for restricting access to services because of the financial problems" ... and went on to say "it is unnecessary and potentially damaging to pay doctors in this way".

His comments follow on from a recent debate at an annual conference of GP's, where a Bedfordshire GP said that "payment by results" was a "hideous undercurrent" in health secretary Andrew Lansley's health bill, describing it as a system that "threatens patient trust". He went on to say that if the government's plans are implemented in their current form, delicate decisions will be "corrupted by financial decisions" and would "result in no trust whatsoever between patients and doctors."

During a speech at the event, Dr Iona Heath, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), also said that GPs need to "badly put our house in order to acknowledge the extent of conflicts of interest pervading the context within which we work".

"We need to make it clear that there is a limit to which we will respond to ethically dubious financial incentives. Only then can we begin to provide the urgently necessary critique of the pervasiveness of financial conflicts of interests within policy making in the NHS."

Indeed so ... and well said! It is heartwarming to see there are still trustworthy honorable GP's (and doctors) prepared to expose the clear conflicts of interests and making equally clear their unacceptability (on ethical grounds) ... let's see if the Government are going to try 'listen' ... second time around !