Headlines: February 12th, 2010

Doctors are urging people to join a new campaign to limit the role of commercial companies in providing NHS care in England. From today the BMA’s ‘Look After Our NHS’ website is being revamped to allow members of the public to show their support.

In another stage of the campaign the BMA will next week be sending packs to each of its members, a total of 100,000 doctors and medical students. The packs include a poster showing a businessman taking money out of the health service and urging the public to ‘help us put patients before profits’. Leaflets for patients will also be distributed to GP practices and BMA representatives in hospitals.

The BMA says that successive government policies have created a market in healthcare that has allowed commercially-run firms to compete with NHS trusts and GP practices. The BMA fears this is having an adverse impact on many parts of the NHS.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, said it wanted a health service with patients and not profits at its heart. The public valued the NHS, he said, as a publicly provided, publicly funded service. He added: “NHS staff see on a daily basis the waste of taxpayers’ money caused by this fixation with market ideology. Particularly as the public purse strings tighten, it is crucial that public money is no longer wasted on expensive commercial experiments.”