BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: In Depth: BMA Conference  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
BMA Conference Sunday, 1 July, 2001, 23:03 GMT 00:03 UK
Tough tests for private NHS plans
Doctors say they are under immense pressure
Doctors say they are under immense pressure
By BBC News Online's Caroline Ryan in Bournemouth

Doctors' leaders have issued a stark warning to the government on its plans for private sector involvement in the health service.

On the eve of the British Medical Association's (BMA) annual conference in Bournemouth, they have set three key tests that any plans must meet before medics will even discuss them.

Dr Ian Bogle, chairman of the BMA's council, says any private involvement must be value for money, beneficial to patient care and not detrimental to the NHS.

Only then will doctors be "open for talks".

Morale


Doctors are finding they have not got sufficient time for patients

Dr Ian Bogle
The conference opens on Monday with a speech by Dr Bogle outlining how doctors across the NHS are feeling increasingly demoralised.

During the general election campaign, results from a ballot of GPs showed more than half would be prepared to resign from the NHS next April if negotiations between the BMA and the government over GPs' contracts were not concluded satisfactorily.

But Dr Bogle has said that all areas of the profession - from medical academics to hospital doctors - are suffering from low morale.

He told the BBC: "Doctors are finding they have not got sufficient time for patients, expectations are very high, and the government are putting in what we think are unrealistic targets that are causing great frustration within the medical profession."

Dr Bogle said it would take "many years" to turn the NHS around, and many more doctors were required to cope with demand.

"I realise that the government did put an investment in, unfortunately it is not getting through in many places to where it matters, and that is patient care."

During the conference, doctors from around the UK will discuss the private sector's links with the NHS, and what one motion describes as the government's "unabated enthusiasm for private sector investment, involvement and provision in the NHS".

Private sector links

But doctors from Buckinghamshire are suggesting "that in view of the current state of the NHS all UK residents who can afford to make provision for private health care in the future would be well advised to do so".

The motion is set to be debated on Monday.

When the BMA discussed the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) at its 1998 conference, it said that PFI should be abandoned because it was "not an affordable long-term strategy for increasing capital investment in the NHS".

PFI refers to an arrangement where the state pays the private sector to build and maintain hospitals.

The government is suggesting further private involvement, although it stresses health care will be publicly funded and free at the point of use.

Last year, the government signed a concordat with the private sector which outlined how NHS patients could be treated free in the private and voluntary sectors.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Dr Ian Bogle, Chairman of the BMA
"The government are putting in... unrealistic targets that are causing great frustration in the medical profession"
See also:

20 Jun 01 | Health
01 Jun 01 | Vote2001
20 Feb 01 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more BMA Conference stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more BMA Conference stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes