Grassroots BMA representatives have instructed the association to campaign to repeal the NHS reforms, after a heated debate at the annual representative meeting in Bournemouth.
Delegates clashed with the BMA leadership during the debate, with some delegates disputed an assertion from BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum that no major political party backed the repeal of the legislation.
Representatives defied Dr Meldrum’s advice and backed the call, after it was pointed out that the Labour party had pledged to repeal the Health and Social Care Act if elected.
Dr Meldrum argued that the BMA’s energy would be better focussed fighting specific elements of the legislation rather than the whole act.
He said: ‘There is a lot to sort out. If you repeal it, you put the NHS through yet another upheaval. Do you really want the BMA to spend a lot of its resources doing that? I really think the BMA would be better spending its time in actually supporting the people who are fighting different aspects of the act, rather than trying to repeal the whole act.’
But delegates ignored his advice and supported the amended motion, which also called on the BMA to make proposals to mitigate and reverse the damaging effect of the reforms, to monitor and collate information about the effects of the act, and to continue to call for the publication of the NHS risk register.
Dr Lucy-Jane Davis, who proposed the motion, said: The disadvantages of the market are overwhelming. These reforms have seen hospitals given the freedom to fail and fall into bankruptcy, GPs given the freedom to be blamed for not commissioning services that they cannot afford, and any qualified provider the freedom to undercut NHS providers. It has allowed taxpayers’ money to be redirected into shareholders’ pockets.’