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BMA rejects bill, but supports GP commissioning

A BMA special representative meeting today saw members vote overwhelmingly both in favour of GP commissioning and for the health secretary to withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill.

The motion to call on Andrew Lansley to withdraw the bill went ahead despite warnings by BMA leaders that it would be impractical.

BMA council member, Dr Jonathan Fielden warned the BMA risked ‘winning a battle, but losing the war' by insisting the bill be withdrawn, because of how the motion would tie the hands of BMA negotiators.

Representatives from the floor however said it was too late for the bill to be sufficiently amended to reflect doctors' concerns.

The earlier motion to support clinical-led commissioning was proposed by Dr Helena McKeown who said the BMA would be letting patients down if it did not express support for GP-led commissioning.'

‘Voting for this and showing we support clinical commissioning is not in support of the proposed legislation.

‘All of these aspirations can be achieved without the market-based approach of this legislation. We do not need this £1.8 billion re-organisation.'

Later today, the members will decide on whether the BMA should begin industrial action in opposition to the reforms.

Some members are arguing for an electronic vote on the most impactful motion of the day, amid intimidation fears.

Other earlier motions passed today included a rejection of the any willing provider model and replacing it with the NHS as preferred provider echoing similar calls from the weekend's Liberal Democrats conference.

An overwhelming majority also voted against price competition. BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the price competition policy may have been wounded by the Government's own amendments to the bill but added: 'I'm not sure its had a stake through its heart.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum Dr Hamish Meldrum Click here for all our coverage from the meeting SRM Watch Dr Hamish Meldrum's SRM address