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BMA calls for private firms to be left out in the cold in 2010

By Ian Quinn The BMA has called on politicians to slam the brakes on private sector involvement within the NHS in 2010, as part of a New Year appeal to MPs. In a set of resolutions, which the body says would ‘protect the future of the NHS', it puts top of the list a demand for politicians to stop 'wasting taxpayers' money' on what it calls ‘unnecessary and expensive commercial sector solutions'. ‘These scarce resources should be invested in the NHS where they will provide better value for money and help more patients,' said BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum. He added: ‘The political parties have been grappling with the current financial crisis and cuts in the public sector are being proposed from 2010 onwards. The BMA is calling on politicians to resist the false economy of making quick savings by cutting front-line NHS services.' The list of resolutions also calls for the Government to focus on issues such as alcohol misuse, tobacco control and obesity. ‘Dealing effectively with these problems could save millions of premature deaths in the future. We hope this government – and any future government – will adopt our resolutions,' said Dr Meldrum. BMA's New Year resolutions list for MPs The full list of the BMA's demands 1. Stop wasting taxpayers' money on poor value contracts between the NHS and private companies. 2. Don't cut frontline services, or penalise NHS staff to bail the country out of the financial crisis which was not of their making. 3. Safeguard funding for medical research and the education and training of clinical staff. 4. Work towards creating a tobacco-free society by 2035. 5. Set a minimum price per unit of alcohol and ban all alcohol advertising in the media. 6. Support and develop general practice to deliver high-quality care for patients. 7. Discourage trusts from cutting the time consultants can spend on initiatives to improve quality, patient safety and cost effectiveness. 8. Don't raise the cap on tuition fees in 2010 - a move which would send the cost of a medical degree soaring and dissuade the less well off to study medicine. 9. Address the BMA's serious concerns over the quality and continuity of junior doctors' training. 10. Compel the NHS to lead by example by reducing its carbon footprint. Dr Hamish Meldrum: New Year call for clampdown on private sector