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BMA launches major survey on health reforms

By Ian Quinn

The BMA is to launch a major survey of its members to decide the future of its strategy towards the Government's health bill, amid growing calls for it to end its policy of ‘critical engagement'

Pollster Ipsos MORI has been commissioned by the association as it seeks to determine the full extent of the split in the profession caused by health secretary Andrew Lansley's sweeping proposals for NHS reform.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said the move would ‘ensure that our lobbying strategy reflects members' concerns', while a crunch meeting of the BMA this week is also expected to debate calls for a Special Representative Meeting to be called in the next month.

A Pulse survey last week revealed an overwhelming number of grassroots GPs were in favour of the BMA calling the Special Representative Meeting to debate the reforms.

In a letter to GPs, Dr Buckman defended the GPC's decision to release detailed guidance to help GPs form consortia, insisting: ‘Our pragmatic support for a concept we share is not the same as support for all the changes the Government wants to make, with some of which we disagree profoundly.'

The BMA wants individual GPs to step up their own lobbying against ‘damaging' proposals in the bill, he added.

‘Ploughing ahead with these changes as they stand, at such speed, and when NHS staff and experts have so many concerns, is an enormous risk and will incur considerable costs at a time of huge financial pressure.'

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