The BMA is ‘considering’ launching a campaign to enable patients to opt out from the private sector – I suspect that is as far as it will go. As many have pointed out, it would be fraught with complications: legal, moral and practical.
I doubt there would be enough patients willing to reduce their options. Patients are understandably inclined to think of their own situation rather than take a political stance. After all, they are seeking medical help because they have a problem that needs sorting – and that is rightly what will guide their thinking when it comes to the crunch. I also think it would be unfair if patients felt, however slightly, that they were letting the doctor or the BMA down by choosing a private provider.
Dr Coral Jones has had 20 opt-out cards returned by patients – out of how many in her practice? It doesn’t sound like a lot and, furthermore, will they stick to it when they actually need a referral?
From Dr Janette Lockhart – Retired GP, Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester