LMC leaders have rejected a call for a ‘slap on the wrist’ for BMA leaders over their handling of the Government’s NHS reforms, in a close vote this morning.
The motion, proposed by Dr Paul Hobday, a GP in Maidstone, Kent, and area representative for Kent LMC, asked the LMCs Conference in Liverpool to reprimand the BMA leadership for ‘taking so long to wake up to the malignant effect of the Health and Social Care Act’.
While Dr Hobday said that the majority of the blame for the malignant proposals of the Act lay with the ‘arrogant posh boys’ in Government who ‘probably don’t even use the NHS’, he questioned why the BMA had refused to hold a ballot over the issue, as was the case with pension reforms.
He also criticised the BMA’s failure to lead an effective public campaign raising awareness to the ways in which the act, then the health bill, would damage the NHS.
He said: ‘A slap on the wrist is needed, I’m sure you’re man enough to take it’
Dr David Wrigley, GPC member and a GP in Lancashire, supported the also supported the motion, saying BMA leaders believed the health bill ‘didn’t matter’.
He said: ‘A message must be sent to the leadership. This bill wasn’t a curate’s egg – it was a very badly smelling egg,’ he said quoting Dr Hamish Meldrum’s original description of the reform package.
However, Dr Ivor Camphor, representing Mid-Mersey LMC dismissed the motion as ‘in-fighting and quarrelling for things we can’t control.’
Dr Fay Wilson, BMA council member and a GP in Birmingham, said that the motion ‘fundamentally undermined the BMA and its processes’. She said that the BMA’s position hardened as the Government’s ‘deception’ became clear and that anger should be directed at them and not the BMA leaders.
She said: ‘The BMA is a representative organisation. When has an organisation of 150, 000 ever thrown over a Government?’
GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said that the reason the BMA did not hold a ballot was because it was clear the vast majority of members opposed the reforms.
BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said he was ‘disappointed’ by this motion, but defended his handling of the health reforms.
He said: ‘The BMA was the first major medical body to come out against this bill.’
‘We came out in total opposition. We worked with the Government, with the press, with patient organisations. Now we’ve got the Act, we’ve got to work with the best bits and the worst bits’