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BMA launches major campaign against ‘point-scoring’ in run-up to the election

The Government and opposition politicians have come under attack from the BMA today, with doctors telling them to stop ‘playing games with the nation’s health’ by announcing ‘political point-scoring’ exercises such as the GP dementia case finding scheme or 48-hour GP appointment target.

The BMA has used the two schemes, brought by the Government and the Opposition respectively, as examples of ‘short-term funding’ announcements which have to stop in favour of all political parties to commit to properly fund the NHS.

It launched the major new campaign – titled ‘No More Games’ – on the back of an Ipsos MORI survey of the 2,000 members of the public, which showed 77% now think that politicians are designing health policies to win votes, rather than focusing what is best for the NHS.

As part of the campaign, the BMA has unveiled a sculpture designed specifically for the campaign by Russell Beck, famous for the 10m high cigarette displayed in London’s Trafalgar Square, which was revealed in a video clip, as well as a poster campaign, which will be put up across the country.

The campaign calls for: ‘No more games with the public’s health; no more games with NHS funding; and no more games with who’s providing patient care.’

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC workforce and education subcommittee, said: ‘Leading up to the election, this is to highlight that we need honest debates.

‘We need long-term investment in the NHS, and of course general practice.

‘This is not aimed at one particular party, it is aimed at all of them. We cannot have any more gimmicky policies aimed at the short-term, and the politicians must inform the public about what is really needed.’

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said: ‘The BMA is calling for an open and honest debate in which all political parties come together with the public to ensure the long-term future of the NHS. We want to see a stop to the headline-grabbing such as 48-hour targets for GP appointments, payments for dementia diagnoses and unfunded budget pledges.

‘It is not just doctors sounding this call – 77% of the public believe politicians are designing health policies simply to win votes.

‘The scale of the campaign just goes to demonstrate just how concerned doctors are, and we aim to ensure that every member of the public sees it and adds their voice to ours in calling for an end to the game-playing and the start of an open and honest public debate on how we create a long-term, sustainable plan for the NHS.’

The BMA’s campaign

No more games with the public’s health

  • We want long term commitment to address the major public health issues in our society
  • Public confidence that health services will be properly resourced, easy to access and free at the point of use, now and in the future.

No more games with NHS funding

  • We want all political parties to commit to long term investment to secure the future of the NHS.
  • Short term funding announcements to score political points must become a thing of the past.

No more games with who’s providing patient care

  • The health and wellbeing of patients must always come before making profits from healthcare.
  • We believe that a publically funded, publically provided service delivers the best patient care

Source: BMA