Monday, March 21, 2011

Health & Social Care Bill Too Extreme Too Rushed BMA Says




What we are seeing in Birmingham is very fast "reforms" . Part of the problem is the Govt economic driver and the way it has been shaped like ideological spears . "Transforming the Communities" (a New Labour document of 2009) as a policy goes back in its formations for years with the Sainsbury Centre For Mental Health pushing different forms of de-institutionalization and "social inclusions" but now the added 2011 Coalition incentive to save money and cut services is likely to be a toxic situation .

Welfare reform, GP commissioning and shifting secondary care "SMI's" (serious mental illness Users) over to primary care side supply is going to be lethal for some Users who fall outside of being able to be supported or cared for by family or the dwindling support systems we have .

Coupled with 3rd sector instabilities created by the local authority being over-ambitious on service cuts (no rises in council tax) and eligibility criteria for support being altered (4000 affected in Birmingham alone) - its all not looking good . Over to the BMA letter :

British Medical Association Letter To Andrew Lansley :

"March 17th 2011

Dear Secretary of State

I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the BMA’s Special Representative Meeting (SRM) held on Tuesday to debate and direct the BMA’s approach towards the Health and Social Care Bill, and the subsequent meeting of BMA Council.

On Tuesday, just under 400 members representing the whole range of BMA national, regional and local structures across the UK voted to carry 33 motions covering many different aspects of the Bill. All of the motions reflect grave concern about major elements of the Bill, especially, as drafted, the powers that will be given to Monitor to ensure the promotion of competition. Despite Government reassurances, the vast majority of doctors believe the implementation of these powers will lead to a fragmentation of care and will undermine commissioning consortia’s ability to make decisions based on the best interests of their patients and local populations.

In many ways, motion 35 summed up the feeling of the SRM. A large majority voted that the current plans for reform are too extreme and too rushed and will negatively impact on patient care. By a smaller majority, the SRM called on the Health Secretary to call a halt to the proposed top-down reorganisation of the NHS and to withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill. However, the SRM also recognised that some aspects of the Bill have the potential to improve and safeguard care. In particular, motions were carried supporting the principles of clinician-led commissioning, albeit with concerns about how they are intended to work in practice.

The SRM, by a narrow majority, pulled back from asking us to oppose the Bill in its entirety, but very clearly indicated that doctors expect to see more progress on amending the most worrying aspects of the Bill, calling on the BMA to publicise and oppose the damaging elements of the Bill and to consider what form of action should be taken by the medical profession.

I have had the strongest steer from our representatives and Council that we have to focus our energies on improving the Health and Social Care Bill for the benefit of patients, the profession and the NHS. This comes on top of our recent major survey of members by Ipsos MORI, which clearly showed significant concern about the reforms, especially about increased and enforced competition. This was the case even amongst those doctors generally supportive of the reforms and those involved as Pathfinders.

I have asked our Director of Representational and Political Activities to liaise with your seniorofficials on the full range of motions carried by the BMA SRM. I also hope that you and I can meet soon to discuss how the BMA can work with you to ensure that doctors’ views and concerns are properly reflected in the Government’s proposed reforms.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely
Dr Hamish Meldrum
Chairman of Council, BMA "


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