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Government focused on chasing headlines rather than future of NHS, says BMA

The Government’s first 100 days of office has been focused on alienating NHS staff, and chasing headlines promising thousands of more GPs, the BMA has said.

The chair of the BMA, Dr Mark Porter, has launched a weighty attack on the Government’s ‘poor performance on the NHS’ over its first 100 days in office, adding that there are ‘serious questions marks’ behind some of the recent announcements – including how the NHS workforce crisis will be addressed.

As part of Dr Porter’s interrogation of the Government’s performance on the NHS, he also claims that there has been no detail about how the £22bn black hole in NHS finances in England can be reduced, and no definition about the viability of rolling out a seven-day NHS.

Instead of ‘taking urgent action to address the real health and social care issues,’ Dr Porter said, the Government has focused on ‘attacking doctors’ professionalism.’

This attack from the BMA comes after Pulse recently reported that a fifth of GP training places in the UK remain unfilled after two rounds of recruitment - while the Government’s pledge to increase GP access to seven days a week has recently been hit by a slew of pilots across the country scrapping the scheme due to lack of demand.

But the BMA has subsequently been accused by health secretary Jeremy Hunt for being out of touch with its members, claiming he had ‘yet to meet’ a doctor not in favour of weekend working.

However, a petition has since been launched calling for a vote of no confidence in Mr Hunt, after he angered consultants during a speech, in which he threatened to impose his terms for the new junior doctor contract.

‘When it comes to the NHS, to describe the Government’s performance over its first 100 days as a disappointment would be a gross understatement,’ added Dr Porter.

‘The first 100 days have been characterised by a focus on rhetoric at the expense of detail. We have seen no detail on how the £22bn black hole in NHS finances in England is going to be closed, no definition about seven-day services, and an apparent intention to water down safeguards for patients and doctors.

Dr Porter went on to add that the public has been fed ‘unrealistic headline-grabbing promises’ of thousands more GPs, but with no detail on how this pledge can be achieved.

He added: ‘We have also seen a continuation of government policy by press release, U-turns and a lack of transparency. The public has been treated to a slew of unrealistic headline-grabbing promises of thousands more GPs, but no detail.

‘It is also disappointing that the Government continues to claim that it has ‘protected the NHS’ while forcing through economic policies that do it more harm. The chancellor’s decision to cut £200m from the public health budget will leave public health medicine staff having to find deeper cuts and will put back efforts to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.’

Readers' comments (16)

  • Dr Porter the govt won't respond to words

    Action is needed!!

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  • Dr Porter is sat on an enormous pension and perks and knighthood pending, seat in the House of Lords. In short. Some serious troughing. He is not going to rock the boat. The old boys who are also sat on massive perks and also blocked strike action while their GP 'colleagues' have been completely stuffed are part of the problem too.

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  • @GP registrar above!
    Welcome to the real world. You can fight back yourself though when your training is done!!
    Passive resistance doesn't work with this lot! You've got plenty of options awaiting you....

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Well said GP Reg- please qualify and then emigrate to a country where you will be appreciated. And tell your chums!

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  • Q) Why be train to be a GP?
    A) To move to Australia

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  • They should stick the fundamentals of applying to Australia House on the MRCGP/AKT syllabus. Anyone with a brain would use it as a golden ticket Down Under rather than join the long slow dance of death we are witnessing. Agonal breaths, anyone?

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  • Anyone wanting the last drop of morale kicked out of them should look at the comments board on the Daily Wail today under a piece on paramedics filling in for GP's. Sod the General Public. Let 'em weep into the misinformed poisonous over-opinionated rag when we're gone.

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  • @12:36
    Agree completely. There's a hardcore minority within the public that make the job a living hell. You spend most of your time pandering to this group that work on the principal that whoever shouts the loudest gets what they want. I remember as a 30 year old partner feeling great angst whenever I saw the names of one of these sort of my appointment list for the morning or in the visit book at lunchtime. These are precisely the sort of folk that get egged on by the daily mail and demand more. The silent majority receive a poorer service because of these people also.

    I can affirm the benefits of handing in ones resignation and "effing" off abroad to work in private practice where one can choose ones clientele. Just last week I had a meet and greet with a patient to decide whether I would be their primary care physician, this patient had booked to see me because they had seen my advertisement stating that I was accepting new patients ( a concept so alien to me in the uk I really had difficulty getting to grips with it when I first moved here!!- I'd never known anything other than patients being imposed on me)

    Anyway this woman bought a huge list of problems with her and basically told me I was to be her GP and to top it off asked me to write her a sick note for one month because she had bilateral frozen shoulders! ( the funny thing is I watched her remove quite easily a bag from one of her shoulders quite easily earlier and seemingly without discomfort) she then had the temerity to tell me she would be back next week for me to fill out some rather extensive disability forms for her as well!! Some of my colleagues over here would abruptly have told this woman where she stood, but I'm still in my uk mindset to avoid confrontation and a possible vexatious complaint ( not that it gets punters very far here) so I told her id be in touch once if studied her file- I promptly told my receptionist to ring her later in the day and let her know I wouldn't be taking her case on as i didn't think there would be a good fit here in terms of doctor patient relationship.

    Until doctors in England are given this sort of power to choose their clientele, idiots like those mentioned a over will hold all the cards and waste precious consultation time and more!! The daily mail whingers will get their comeuppance when they see for themselves the damage they have caused with their incessant demands. I for one am glad I've seen the back of this lot and am now free to practice medicine without the bloody headache of these heartsinks.

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  • @4:04

    are you working private practice in the uk or oz

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  • The main reason, I would quit primary care is our public attitude. I can deal with the rest. The public thinks they are entitled to be rude and give a bashing to GPs. They will dare not behave like this with a consultant. I have gone into a morale bankruptcy with the public behaviour.

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