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BMA leader: Ministers are trying to undermine trust in doctors

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter has claimed ministers are trying to undermine trust in doctors and are ‘squandering the morale of decent people’, in a speech to an emergency summit today.

Dr Porter added that NHS is ‘crippled by denial’ as ministers expect it to deliver more, while coping with £22bn of efficiency savings.

Speaking at an emergency meeting of BMA ‘special representatives’ today, Dr Porter warned that the NHS is in financial crisis, saying: ‘It is a health service with a revenue larger than the GDP of many countries, but which would struggle to get a credit rating. Which suffers from debt, but is crippled by denial.’

‘The chancellor speaks of a “fully-funded” NHS but has come up with less than a third of the extra £30 billion in England alone that he admits it needs… His claims are fantasy, but so too are his solutions. He says we just need to be more efficient. So much more efficient that £22 billion worth of work that we do apparently won’t exist, or won’t cost anything, in four years’ time… We have a government that promises, and expects, the impossible. That ignores the inconvenient,’ he added.

The Government’s seven-day access drive also came under fire from the BMA chair: ‘The Government must drop its cynical and corrosive tactic of trying to undermine trust in doctors. Making laughable accusations that doctors don’t work weekends, or that GPs don’t do out of hours, doesn’t soften us up in negotiations. And it doesn’t fool the public either. It just squanders the morale of decent people.’

However, Dr Porter praised the role of GPs in the face of this crisis: ‘There are GPs who, despite the intense escalation in their workload, the years of funding cuts and lack of help with premises, have somehow transformed the way their practices are run, and made the care they deliver even better… So often, we work to improve the quality of patient care even while the system just demands more paperwork and more reorganisation…Some GPs, despite their reservations, are daring to hope that their working lives will become more bearable following the GP Forward View plan from NHS England. We should all be able to hope.’

This comes after Pulse has reported that GPs are still in favour of mass resignation despite the Government’s support package for general practice.