“ The BMA does not agree that the billions ploughed into the
NHS in recent years have been largely wasted. However much more progress
could have been made without the diversion of funds into poor value
for money schemes such as PFI, ISTCs and blind faith in the benefits
of market orientated healthcare.
_ As the Civitas report says waiting
times have fallen in a number of specialties including cancer care
and heart disease. Patients in
England no longer have to wait months or even years for hip replacements.
These achievements, overwhelmingly produced by the NHS not the independent
sector, can hardly be described as a waste of money.
_ The best results have been seen
where trusts have worked in partnership with their senior staff;
consultants, GPs, nurses and other
staff working together, across boundaries for the greater benefit of
patients. Merely following political whim or “gaming” are
inherent risks of a target based management culture.
_ The chronic under-investment for
years in the health service had to be reversed, taking much of the
funding that could have come
to frontline care. It is, however the pursuit of market based healthcare
that has diverted too much of the welcome extra funding down an expensive
blind alley. It is a course the government seems determined to pursue
despite this further evidence of the failure of its course of action.
_ In particular market based reforms
lead funding away from critical areas such as mental health and long
term care which are deteriorating
by international standards.
_ The fundamental incoherence of
current government policies have led to lack of engagement, frustration
and low morale amongst
doctors. At a time when the UK is critically short of doctors we are
hearing about NHS trusts making healthcare staff redundant in order
to balance their books. Another marker of the detriment which current
policy is having on the NHS.
_ There is certainly a long way to
go before we have the kind of NHS that patients and doctors want.
The government needs to stop
chasing market type reforms, stop avidly looking solely to the private
sector for solutions and start working with doctors and senior NHS
staff in partnership to bring the best the NHS can deliver to all areas
of the service. Consultants have led on delivering reductions in waiting
times and continue to introduce new treatments for patients – the
government must listen and involve us if it is truly interested in
a high quality NHS.”