Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BMA bemoans proposed NHS cuts


British Prime Minister David Cameron is taking the National Health Service to the chopping block - a victim of the government's austerity efforts due to the financial crisis in the UK. But the British Medical Association is arguing that if cuts are necessary - they should be found someplace else.

“Ploughing ahead with these changes as they stand, at such speed, at a time of huge financial pressures, and when NHS staff and experts have so many concerns, is a massive gamble," argues Dr. Hamish Meldrum, the BMA's chairman.

“The BMA supports greater involvement of clinicians in planning and shaping NHS services, but the benefits that clinician-led commissioning can bring are threatened by other parts of the bill. In particular, the legislation will allow competition to be forced on commissioners, even when they believe the best and most appropriate services can be provided by local hospitals."

Taking these decisions out of the hands of the hospitals and putting them in the hands of commissioners, Meldrum argues, could destabilize local health economies and "fragment care for patients."

Cameron wants price competition to be added to medical conditions in the hope that the market will keep costs down. Meldrum opposes this as well, saying that it would give large companies unfair advantage over local providers - further harming - he says - the local and regional medical economies.

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