In a letter and briefing paper addressed to every peer in the House of Lords, BMA's chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum this week repeated the call for the Health and Social Care Bill in England to be withdrawn, or at least to undergo further substantial amendment. The second reading of the Health and Social Care Bill will be in the House of Lords on Tuesday, 11 October.
BMA Chairman of Council Dr Hamish Meldrum says in the letter that the Bill will "make it harder to create seamless, efficient care that everyone agrees is the key to future sustainability."
Although the BMA acknowledges that some substantial changes regarding some of their concerns have already been made to the Bill, and that some of the proposals, for example including to give more control to clinicians and patients potentially provides a positive change in the health service, Dr. Meldrum insists: "on balance, the BMA still believes the Bill, as it currently stands, poses an unacceptable high risk to the NHS in England."
He highlights the concerns regarding the continuing lack of explanations on how the plans, described as the "most radical restructuring of the NHS in a generation" would be implemented. The BMA is particularly concerned considering the rapid rollout that is taking place prior to the legislation being enacted.
According to the BMA, the most urgent overhanging concerns needing to be addressed by the Lords are:
- Tougher examinations of the plans on how to handle 'failing' hospitals
- The need for an explicit provision ensuring that the Secretary of State will keep ultimate responsibility for the provision of comprehensive health services
- Assurance that priority will be given to development of integrated services with free access for all above increasing patients' choice of provider for specific elements of their care.
The letter to peers and an accompanying briefing paper
Written by Petra Rattue