The BMA has called again for the Health and Social Care Bill to be withdrawn or substantially amended in a letter and briefing paper sent to all House of Lords peers.
The Bill has passed its first reading in the House of Lords, and a second reading is planned for Tuesday 11 October.
In the letter, BMA Chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum argued that the current rollout of the planned NHS reforms, in advance of the legislation, makes the need for greater clarity regarding the plans more urgent.
The Health Bill will “make it harder to create the seamless, efficient care that everyone agrees is key to future sustainability,” Meldrum claimed.
The key issues highlighted by the BMA as needing attention from the House of Lords are:
- The need for a clear statement that the Secretary of State will remain responsible for providing a comprehensive health service.
- The need for assurance that increasing patients’ choice of providers will not be prioritised over the development of fair access and integrated services.
- The need for more clarity on what will happen to services when a hospital is ‘failing’ in financial terms.
In addition, the BMA expressed concern regarding the future capability of public health; the excessive new bureaucracy around NHS commissioning; and the potential impact of abolishing the cap on the income that Foundation Trusts can generate from private patients.
Dr Meldrum concluded that “The BMA still believes the Bill, as it currently stands, poses an unacceptably high risk to the NHS in England.”
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