Socialist Worker

Doctors join NHS resistance

by Kambiz Boomla, east London GP
Issue No. 2242

Health workers are furious with Tory plans to “reform” the NHS.

And doctors, who are often thought of “conservative”, are fast becoming vocal opponents too.

Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the doctors’ BMA union, spoke out this week. He said that privatisation plans could “turn the clock back to the 1930s”—when the poor could rarely afford healthcare and were forced to rely on charity.

He lambasted health secretary Andrew Lansley’s health and social care bill, which will force NHS hospitals to compete with private firms.

The plans could result in the closure of hospitals and see some patients denied care by private providers because they are too expensive to treat, he said.

The BMA is discussing whether to end its policy of “critical engagement” with the Tory plans. Many BMA divisions are calling for “outright opposition”.

An emergency national conference to debate the issue is set for Tuesday of next week.

There are already plans for some GP practices to be partially floated on the stock market. Under Lansley’s proposals, from 2013 consortia of local doctors will control £80 billion of NHS funds to commission healthcare. Doctors will be a vocal part of the TUC demonstration on 26 March.

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