The BMA has set out eleven areas of continuing concern with the Health and Social Care Bill.
The Association says that a series of further amendments to the Bill are necessary in “order to mitigate damage” to the NHS.
Its recommendations include giving Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) the freedom to commission the most appropriate services, and ensuring the Secretary of State retains ultimate responsibility for the NHS.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, BMA Chairman, says although the Association would prefer the Bill to be withdrawn, “there is scope for further significant change to be made” during its passage through the House of Lords.
In its latest briefing paper, the BMA also calls for an amendment which makes it explicit that patient choice will not be given priority over fair access for all. It also wants further safeguards which prevent providers of care or services ‘cherry-picking’ more profitable services.
On incentives for commissioning, the Association “continues to have serious concerns” about conflicts of interest with the link of financial incentives to the performance of CCGs.
Dr Meldrum hopes that peers in Lords will agree with the suggested amendments and change the controversial legislation before it progresses any further.
“Because so much of the detail won’t appear on the face of the Bill and will instead be left to secondary legislation and guidance, it is essential to have firm assurances now about the government’s implementation plans, for example, we continue to have serious concerns about the ethics of the current proposal to incentivise commissioners,” he said.
“Other areas where the BMA is seeking amendments relate to public health; the private patient income cap; the foundation trust failure regime; increasing bureaucracy and complexity, and information and confidentiality.”
Members of the BMA have previously expressed “major concerns” about the Health Bill on various occasions, calling for the Government to amend the plans back in June 2011.