Dr Mark Porter has written to Prime Minister Theresa May to ask for an urgent meeting with her to discuss the current NHS crisis.
This comes after the British Red Cross branded the situation in hospitals a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and No 10 said that GP opening hours were to blame for A&E pressures.
Writing in a letter to Ms May, Dr Porter said he was ‘horrified to see the position which [she has] taken in responding to the current crisis in the NHS in England’.
He said that by ‘playing down what is happening in hospitals’ and then ‘seeking to lay the blame on general practice’, the Government ‘appears to be seeking deliberately to distract from what is really happening in the NHS’.
‘The continual salami slicing, the presentation of cuts as improvements in the face of palpably deteriorating services and the scapegoating of those who work in the service have led to this situation, one in which patients’ lives and well-being are at risk. This should not be acceptable for any Government,’ he added.
The BMA is also calling on Ms May to urgently guarantee the status of EU nationals living in the UK and working in the NHS, after she failed to do so in her headline Brexit speech today.
Dr Porter said: ‘There are more than 10,000 doctors from the European Economic Area working in the NHS, so it is vital for the stability of the NHS and the future of medical research, that the Government removes the ongoing uncertainty and grants them permanent residence.’
He also urged the Government to place no cap on the numbers of doctors that could be recruited from overseas to plug gaps in the NHS, and not to scrap EU regulations protecting the health and safety of NHS staff.
He said that as pressures on the NHS ‘continue to grow’ it is ‘vital that the current EU regulations which protect doctors from overwork, and protect patients from overtired doctors, are preserved and not repealed or limited in any way for new workers’.
In her speech, Ms May indicated she would not guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in Britain until other EU member states had promised the same for British nationals living in other EU states.
She said she has ‘told other EU leaders that we could give people the certainty they want straight away, and reach such a deal now.’ but that there were ‘one or two’ member states that do not ‘favour such an agreement’.
She also said the Government ‘will ensure that workers rights are fully protected and maintained’.