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BMA warns NHS plan will lead to privatisation

Doctors have voted to oppose the NHS long-term plan as a ‘plan for a market-driven healthcare system’.

At the BMA annual representatives meeting in Belfast yesterday, delegates carried forward a motion opposing certain objectives of the long-term plan that could result in more privatisation.

They also opposed the shift of care from hospitals to the community. 

Mrs Anna Athow, a retired surgeon from Enfield and Haringey proposed the motion stating that networks will lead to Integrate Care Provider (ICP) contracts, which could be ‘competitively tendered’ to private providers and warned that networks could move the NHS towards Americanisation.

She said: ‘This plan is a business plan to impose American care. They want new models of care which are business models that will make money.’

Mrs Althow also urged delegates not to support the plan, which imposes funding cuts, saying the NHS has made life ‘impossible’ for GPs because of the cuts. 

She said: ‘The less hospital care you provide, the more money for PCNs and ICSs [Integrated Care Systems].’

She asked delegates not to support the following aims of the long-term plan:

  • to make huge funding cuts, through efficiency savings assisted by the creation of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs);
  • to hugely reduce emergency and elective hospital care;
  • to shift care out of hospitals and into primary and community care;
  • to increasingly substitute GP-led care with care provided by allied hHealth professionals working to wider primary care network (PCN) protocols;
  • to establish the principle of ‘shared savings’ at the heart of wider PCNs i.e. more funding in return for reducing hospital care;
  • to arrange GP contract change to bring in new network contracts to allow the setting up of wider PCNs, the essential building blocks of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs);
  • to create 44 ICSs in England, one for each STP,  on long-term business-style contracts, which would  integrate, by contract, the commissioning and provision of  primary healthcare and other medical services, as the ‘new service model’. 

She concluded: ‘Please oppose the NHS long-term plan, it is an anti-NHS plan.’

BMA GP Committee negotiator Dr Krishna Kasaraneni,, who spoke against the motion, said the long-term plan was not perfect, but added: ‘It is for us to fight to make sure we don’t lose our independence and being forced down a route of market provision.’

Delegates passed the motion and only parts iii and iv were not carried through.

Motion in full:

19 Motion by THE AGENDA COMMITTEE (TO BE PROPOSED BY ENFIELD AND HARINGEY DIVISION): That, in respect of the NHS Long Term Plan, this meeting:

i) does not support the imposition of funding cuts through efficiency savings;

ii) does not support the shift of care from hospitals into the community;

iii) does not support the shift of GP care to other healthcare professionals – FAILED;

iv) believes that Primary Care Network contracts will lead to Integrated Care Provider (ICP) contracts, which can be competitively tendered to private providers – FAILED;

v) believes that the NHS should be a system to provide healthcare according to clinical need;

vi) opposes the NHS Long Term Plan as a plan for a market-driven healthcare system.