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BMA calls for halt to NHS reforms and agrees to hold emergency national meeting

By Nigel Praities

The BMA has bowed to pressure from its members and will hold a Special Representative Meeting to debate the NHS reforms in England.

The union has come under increasing pressure to formally debate the changes, and will now hold a meeting on 15 March. In a hardening of its line on the reforms, the BMA Council has also called for the Government to halt implementation of the reforms until legislation has passed through Parliament.

Pulse revealed last week that four out of five GPs – including a majority of those who back the Government's plans – believe the BMA should call the meeting, despite Council twice voting to reject the move.

A statement released tonight said the BMA Council's position on the reforms had not changed, but that a meeting was 'appropriate at this time' as the details had been released in the health bill published last week.

The statement said: 'The BMA has been seeking members' views about the planned changes, and the SRM will provide a further platform to debate the implications of the Government's plans on the NHS, patients and the profession.

'Council also reaffirmed the BMA's position on the reforms, particularly its concerns that the potential benefits of clinically led commissioning and greater public and patient involvement will be put at risk by the enforcement of competition through Monitor's new role as the economic regulator for the NHS and the introduction of price competition.

'In view of reports that some areas seem to be pre-empting proposed legislation, BMA Council also decided to call on the Government to halt implementation of the reforms while the legislation is still going through parliament.'

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The BMA is calling a Special Representative Meeting The BMA is calling a Special Representative Meeting