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Thousands sign BMA online petition calling for repeal of NHS reforms

More than 3,000 people have signed a BMA online petition calling for the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act, the doctors’ union has said.

The petition, launched last week as part of a BMA campaign questioning whether the Government’s reforms are working, has seen doctors and medical students get behind calls to remove the elements of the legislation driving competitive market interests in the NHS.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said collaboration, rather than competition, is more likely to allow greater integration of community and hospital services.

He said: ‘The time has come for a fresh debate on the NHS, and while no one wants to see money wasted on another wholesale reorganisation, we need an NHS that works for our members and for the benefit of patients.’

‘The only way to reverse the damage done is for the act to be repealed … It is important that we, as doctors, sign up to the petition as soon as possible.’

Dr David Wrigley, a GP in Lancashire and a BMA Council member, wrote on a BMA blog: ‘This coalition legislation opens up the English NHS to large corporate companies desperate to get a grip on the huge £120 billion NHS budget up for grabs. They can’t wait to get hold of the much respected NHS brand and win contracts that have multi-million pound profit margins.’

‘This is the reality of the “new NHS”. Contracts are out to tender for which large companies have whole teams available to put bids together. Smaller NHS organisations or the voluntary sector have no chance when bidding for these contracts – the paperwork and hoops to jump through are impossibly complex.’

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham promised last year that Labour will repeal the health reforms ‘in the first Queen’s Speech’, should the party win next year’s general election.