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BMA to step-up fight against Government's private sector 'obsession'

By Gareth Iacobucci

The BMA has vowed to continue its fight against the Government's ‘obsession' with the commercialisation of the NHS.

In a video address to members, posted on You Tube, BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the organisation would continue to strongly oppose the Government's plans ‘to flog the NHS to the private sector'.

Dr Meldrum pledged to step-up the BMA's campaign to protect practices from the roll-out of GP-led health centres and GP practices, pending the full results of the nationwide tendering process.

This address comes despite Dr Meldrum's recent defense of his controversial decision to bid for one of the centers - as reported in last week's Pulse – in which he described the decision as the ‘least worst option'.

He used the address to forecast the most pressing issues on the agenda for GPs and the BMA in 2009. He said: ‘It does strike me as bizarre that at exactly the same time as the Government seems to be taking the banks into public ownership, they are still trying to flog out parts of the NHS to the private sector.

‘The BMA will be continuing its fight against the commercialisation of the NHS and we'll want your support in that fight.

Dr Meldrum also predicted that policies driven by Lord Darzi's nest stage review would be prominent this year.

He said: ‘Although there are some encouraging aspects to this, in terms of raising quality in the NHS and having more clinical engagement, there is the on-going worry about the effect on primary care of the Darzi centres.

‘We've not only been supporting GPs already with the campaign last year, but once we've seen the results of the bids for the practices, we'll be continuing our support to try to ensure that there's no destabilisation of existing GP practices.

He added: ‘I pledge to continue to improve the support that we give doctors locally whether it be to do with their contract negotiations, their professional development, or where they feel threatened by changes that are happening as a result of commercialisation in the NHS.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum vows to continue fight against the 'commercialisation of the NHS' BMA: Challenges facing doctors in 2009

Dr Hamish Meldrum: stepping up fight against private sector Dr Hamish Meldrum

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