The British Medical Association (BMA) has become the latest organisation to sound the alarm over the financial crisis affecting many NHS trusts.
Dr Paul Miller, chair of the BMA’s consultants committee, has written to health secretary Patricia Hewitt warning that proposed cuts “pose a significant threat to patient care” in the health service.
He adds that “cash shortages in the NHS contrast dramatically with generous terms” negotiated by private companies supplying healthcare to the NHS, such as Netcare UK and Alliance Medical.
“For the first time in my memory, we are now receiving widespread reports of proposed freezes on consultant recruitment and even the threat of consultant redundancies,” the letter adds.
“Managers running frightened for their jobs are making knee jerk decisions about the reduction or closure of services in response to short-term funding problems.”
The BMA’s voice joins those of nurses and other healthcare workers who have been warning of the chaos caused by New Labour’s drive to privatise NHS services and create a “free market” in healthcare provision.
Last month Socialist Worker carried reports from frontline health staff detailing the havoc caused across the country by the government’s market dogmas.