Doctors warn White Paper reforms are potentially damaging

Bringing more competition to the NHS under White Paper reforms would be “potentially damaging” the British Medical Association (BMA) argues.Doctors warn White Paper reforms are potentially damagingA market-led approach “creates waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency”, Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the BMA, said.

Under proposals put forward in July by Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, GPs are to be given the power to manage £80 billion of the NHS budget to buy care from hospitals and other doctors, while tiers of management are to be axed.

The BMA said today- Friday, that while it was “interested” in these proposals, the greater efficiencies they could bring might be undermined by more private sector involvement.

Dr Meldrum said: “There are proposals in the White Paper that doctors can support and want to work with. But there is also much that would be potentially damaging.

“The BMA has consistently argued that clinicians should have more autonomy to shape services for patients, but pitting them against each other in a market-based system creates waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency.”

Dr Meldrum said that while he was “not ideologically against markets” he did not believe the evidence showed they had worked in the NHS so far.

Private finance initiatives and privately-run treatment centres, which sold their services to the NHS, resulted in taxpayers’ money leaving the service, he said.

“The private sector is not doing this out of some great social generosity, they want to make a profit,” he argued.

He was talking as the BMA submitted its response to the White Paper: Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS.


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