Medicopolitical Digest

BMA raises concerns about NHS restructuringProfessional staff should be involved in health authorities' workMedical students fight increase in course feesNumber of total fundholding projects will double

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 04 February 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:334
  1. Linda Beecham

    BMA raises concerns about NHS restructuring

    The BMA has written, setting out its worries, to the members of the House of Commons committee which is considering the Health Authorities Bill to change the structure and functions of the NHS.

    One of the proposals is to replace existing regional health authorities with regional outposts staffed by civil servants. In his letter the chairman of the BMA council, Dr Sandy Macara, says, “We have always opposed the removal of this tier of the NHS as a destruction of strategic and democratic planning in the health service. The reorganisation of regional public health planning as well as the likely duplication of bureaucracy in every district health authority and trust at local level have worrying implications.” The BMA is urging the committee to retain a democratically accountable structure on a regional basis.

    The BMA is worried that the proposal to abolish statutory professional advisory committees will lead to a loss of the informed, independent voice of the professions on issues such as education, training, and research.

    Dr Macara also draws attention to the possibility that senior public health doctors will be transferred from the NHS to the civil service. This, he says, will inevitably reduce their independent position as advocates for the health of the population as a whole on issues such as tobacco and infection control.

    “When stability is so sorely needed in the NHS,” said the chairman to the committee, “we hope that MPs will avoid the temptation of a wholesale restructuring of the NHS at a time when concentrating on patient care must continue to be the number one priority.”


    When regional health authorities are abolished new arrangements …

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