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BMA plans campaign against NHS 'commercialisation'

By Steve Nowottny

BMA leaders are pushing ahead with drawing up plans for a national campaign against the ‘creeping commercialisation' of the NHS, Pulse can reveal.

A BMA Council meeting last week heard a progress report from a working group set up in January to cost, design and plan the campaign.

It is expected to get under way in the next two or three months and will focus on ‘the problems associated with the marketisation of the health service', according to a report from the last BMA Council meeting in January.

The report states: ‘The campaign audience would primarily be the public. The subject would be around the effects of the market and the BMA would update its alternative vision of funding.'

The move echoes last year's high-profile Support Your Surgery campaign, which cost at least £300,000 and won the backing of 1.3 million patients.

But a BMA spokesperson this week refused to give further details, arguing it would ‘spoil the element of surprise'.

‘We're looking at things which might involve money and things which are relatively simple to set up,' she said.

‘Do we want to do something very locally based? Do we want to do something involving members? We're looking at lots of options.'

Dr Paddy Glackin, secretary of Camden and Islington LMC, said GPs would support a campaign aimed at taking on the private sector.

‘It's a threat that's not going away,' he said.

‘Our experience is the quality of care provided by the commercial sector has not been all it's cracked up to be. We're aware of a very high level of patient dissatisfaction with services run by the commercial sector.'

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