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BMA plans public information campaign over potential damage from NHS reforms

Exclusive The BMA is preparing a public information campaign to help GPs inform patients about the dangers of the Government’s NHS reforms, Pulse can reveal.

The move comes after legal concerns meant the BMA had to abandon the idea of asking GPs to offer patients a pledge card to ensure they would always be referred to public NHS providers where possible.

The cards were branded ‘divisive’ by private health providers, and plans were put on the back burner in November because BMA lawyers warned that GPs or the BMA could be sued by private healthcare providers as a result.

The BMA said it was still planning to help doctors communicate the impact of the Government’s changes to the NHS to the public, and that it was currently developing resources to do this.

A spokesperson said: ‘We still believe that doctors and the BMA have a role to play in communicating the impacts of the changes to the NHS to the public.’

‘Although the principles and motivations behind the pledge card idea were supported at BMA Council, there were concerns about some elements of the practicalities.

‘We are developing resources for the public designed to inform them about the changes currently taking place in the NHS.’

BMA Council member and hospital consultant Dr Clive Peedell, who lobbied for the BMA to back the pledge card, said that they were trying to ‘resuscitate’ the plans in a different form.

He told Pulse: ‘It is not completely quashed and it is being looked at by our political and economic research units and legal team.

‘I thought the risk was low but they thought they thought that there was a risk and therefore they couldn’t put that onto GPs so they are looking at other ways of doing it.

‘That is still in the pipeline at the moment, in terms of not necessarily a pledge card but some way of doing it whereby GPs wouldn’t be under any legal threats or getting the BMA into hot water.’

It comes after Dr Peedel and another doctor ran 35 miles dressed as Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to raise awareness of their objections to the Government’s NHS reforms.

There will be a crucial vote in the House of Lords on the 24 April attempting to block the Government’s controversial rules on competition for CCGs. The rules were redrafted in March due to opposition from commissioning leaders and the RCGP, but commissioning leaders still warn they will place unnecessary obligations on CCGs that will hinder their ability to put patients’ needs first.

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

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Readers' comments (6)

  • way too little and waayyyy too late!!!
    I have resigned my BMA for these kinds of feeble efforts that do nothing but prob make Cameron and co + Virgin have a nice chuckle!

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  • I agree with above. The BMA has done nothing. I find it really frustrating- everyone is angry at what is happening yet there seems to be no way of us standing up to any of it.
    Why bother reporting any of it as we seem to be able to do nothing about it

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  • I cancelled my BMA membership this week. Although the extra money in my pocket goes no way to repair the outrageous pension increases, punitive qof changes and massive increase in medical indemnity costs this year.
    When the BMA start effectively representing doctors on these issues, I will consider rejoining. Until then, who wants to form another union?

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  • GPs should never taken on the role of PCTs!

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  • I am at a loss that the BMA is so late in the day realising what these changes to the NHS meant in practice. As a body and with support of the GPs, NHS professionals they could have stopped this Act at the start. A lot of the public knew what was in store how come GPs rolled over

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  • All GPs and other doctors can join the Medical Practitioners' Union a section of the biggest union in the country (Unite) see MPU at (I am currently MPU's president. Unite has just launched its latest campaign to oppose the NHS Act which will run right up to the election. You can join MPU even if you remain a BMA member also

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