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BMA urges GPs to take action over health bill

GPs opposed to the Health and Social Care Bill are being urged by the BMA to contact their MP.

The call came as MPs began two days of debates before voting on whether to send the bill to its next stage in the House of Lords.

GP leaders have asked the colleagues to use the BMA online toolkit to find and lobby their MP about concerns that the bill threatens the NHS.

BMA council chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said there continued to be an ‘inappropriate and misguided reliance on market forces to shape services' which had the ‘potential to destabilise' the NHS.

Dr Meldrum also spelt out similar concerns in a letter to The Times, which was signed by the Royal College of GPs and Royal College of Nurses as well.

If, as is highly likely, the health bill passes through the House of Commons, peers have promised to try and block or radically alter the legislation.

Recently Lord Nicholas Rea, a Labour peer and formerly a GP in north London, told Pulse he will draft amendments in support of the BMA's call for the bill to be withdrawn, and predicted the Government would ‘struggle' to secure the bill's passage.

Lord Rea told Pulse: ‘There is a lot of scope for tabling amendments that effectively would wreck the bill. The BMA is absolutely right to call for the bill to be withdrawn and I will definitely be speaking to them about tabling amendments.'

But health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘Claims that we aim to privatise the NHS amount to nothing more than ludicrous scaremongering.

‘The reality is that we're giving more power and choice to patients over how they get treated, keeping waiting times low and cutting bureaucracy so more cash gets to the front line.'