By Ian Quinn
GPs should not sign up to reductions in hospital bed numbers in their new role as commissioners, BMA leaders have voted.
A controversial motion proposed by former GP, turned PCT chair Dr Kailash Chand, won backing at the BMA annual representative meeting, condemning plans to slash hospital bed numbers, although the issue caused division with many GPs believing it is necessary to save the NHS money.
The motion was passed with 55% in favour and nearly 40% against.
Dr Chand, a former GP in Ashton-Under-Lyne, now chair of NHS Tameside and Glossop, told the conference that while it was vital for hospitals to be efficient, he fears the economic situation will be used as an excuse for mass closures.
‘Cutting beds indiscriminately will lead us into chaos,’ said Dr Chand, who recently received an OBE for his services to the NHS.
‘Reducing the number of beds may save money but at what cost to patients and staff.’
Ministers have said GPs will have a ‘shared responsibility’ to decide them where the NHS axe will fall.
Dr Kailash Chand