Medicopolitical Digest

BMA opposes private ethos in the NHSGPs will discuss a salaried optionBMA wants landmines bannedEU committee votes to remove tobacco growers' premiumConsultants support doctor's freedom of speechArmy medical college will leave London

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7011.1029 (Published 14 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1029
  1. Linda Beecham

    BMA opposes private ethos in the NHS

    “We believe that introducing a private ethos into the NHS changes the principles under which the service was formulated,” Dr Mac Armstrong told the BMA's fringe meeting at the Labour party conference. He believed that three fundamental questions underpinned the health care dilemma. How much should be spent on health? What should the money be spent on? How do you know what you are buying is the best? A fourth question was emerging--what was the function of the NHS? Dr Armstrong said that although the government insisted that the NHS was safe in its hands there seemed to be a subtle redefinition of the nature of the NHS.

    The deputy chairman of the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee agreed with him. Dr Peter Hawker, a consultant gastroenterologist in Warwick, said that creeping privatisation was happening and there was now a blurring between the NHS and private care. “If British society cannot support the NHS it has no right to call itself civilised,” he maintained. Several of the questions from the large audience concerned long term care, which the deputy chairman of the General Medical Services Committee, Dr John Chisholm, said was falling on families in an arbitrary way. As well as calling for a full public debate on the subject the BMA is recommending that national guidelines should be drawn up to determine the lines of responsibility for the NHS and local authorities to avoid inequalities and unfair differences due to accidents of geography.

    In its briefing paper the BMA explained that to make the medical profession fit for the future it had embraced audit to …

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