Hospital Dr News

Doctors denounce role of private healthcare in the NHS at BMA’s annual meeting

Doctors have backed a private members bill aimed at dismantling the last government’s NHS reforms and removing the market from the health service.

The NHS Bill 2015, due to be placed before Parliament on Thursday, is a revised version of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, which fell earlier this year ahead of the General Election.

Lancashire GP David Wrigley told the BMA annual representative meeting in Liverpool that the bill would restore the NHS as an accountable public service and reverse 25 years of marketisation.

“Scotland and Wales have already reversed marketisation and restored their NHS without immense upheaval. England can too,” he said.

“The bill reinstates the secretary of state’s responsibility for the provision of services, something the Health and Social Care Act 2012 severed. It would strip away the costly market mechanisms that waste NHS money, which could be spent on patient care.”

However, although doctors supported the proposed NHS Bill 2015, they stopped short of calling for the BMA to lobby for it to be adopted by the Government.

In another debate, the government was urged to make the NHS the preferred provider of services once more.

Franchising contracts, such as that seen at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, have failed to improve services and have been costly, delegates heard.

Oxford consultant orthopaedic hand surgeon Ian McNab said when the going got tough “private providers got out”.

He said: “This results in a significant danger to the maintenance of essential services for patients and also to the delivery of high-quality training for the next generation of doctors for future patients.”

In 2012, Hinchingbrooke became the UK’s first privately managed trust after reaching a 10-year franchising deal with agreement with Circle Healthcare.

In January this year, however, Circle announced that it would be leaving the franchise after just three years claiming circumstances had changed.

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