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Government policies to blame for Mid Staffs 'system failures', BMA leaders claim

By Gareth Iacobucci

The BMA has called for the Governmment to take full responsbility for system failures in the NHS, rather than pinning the blame on doctors and local managers.

Delegates at the BMA's Annual Representatives' Meeting in Liverpool unanimously passed a motion condemning the Government for causing incidents such as the Mid-Staffs fiasco through an obsession with 'perverse incentives, targets, and performance management'.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul, proposing the motion, condemned policies like the 18 week target, payment by results, and 48 hour access to general practice, which he said had compromised patient care.

Dr Nagpaul also attacked the Government for 'squandering billions' through politically motivated schemes such as Darzi centres and ISTCs.

He said system failures were unfairly being blamed on local managers, doctors and nurses, when it was the Government who was truly culpable.

'The NHS operates within health policy set by Government. When these policies themselves damage patients care, it's right and proper for Government to be held to account, rather than unfairly scapegoat local provders,' he said.

He added: 'Dogma alone has squandered billions in political ideology. PCTs, through diktat are spending hundreds of millions of pounds to build Darzi centres and polyclinics most superflous to need - £350m last year on management consultants, the £4bn on ISTCs.'

'This is an obscene use of taxpayers money at a time when it's patients who suffer at the hands of an NHS that can't afford enough nurses to staff wards or support patients in the community.'

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