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New BMA campaign calls on politicians to stop using NHS to score points

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h903 (Published 16 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h903
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1The BMJ

The BMA has launched a major new public campaign ahead of May’s UK general election that is calling on politicians to stop using the NHS to score points.

The “No More Games” campaign (https://nomoregames.org.uk) is appealing to patients and doctors to support calls for an open and honest public debate about the public’s health, the funding of the NHS, and who provides care services. The BMA launched the campaign after a survey by the polling company Ipsos MORI showed that 77% of the public believed political parties were designing health policies to win votes rather than focusing on what was best for the NHS.

To support the campaign the BMA has launched a new poster to be displayed at thousands of sites across the United Kingdom, including billboards and bus stops. The poster features a giant toy tower representing the NHS, designed by Russell Beck, who also created the 10 m high cigarette displayed in London’s Trafalgar Square.

The campaign is urging politicians of all parties to provide long term commitments to tackling major public health issues in society and ensuring that health services are properly resourced, easy to access, and remain free at the point of use. It is also calling for an end to short term funding announcements designed “to score political points,” for greater focus on long term sustained investment, and for support for a publicly funded, publicly provided healthcare service that puts patients ahead of profits.

Mark Porter, the BMA’s chairman of council, said, “The NHS is one of the UK’s towering achievements, but for too long it has been used to play political games. With health the public’s number one election issue, this game playing is on the rise, with all political parties laying the blame for the current NHS crisis at each other’s door rather than facing the problem head on.

“The BMA is calling for an open and honest debate in which all political parties come together with the public to ensure the long term future of the NHS. We want to see a stop to headline grabbing such as 48 hour targets for GP appointments, payments for dementia diagnoses, and unfunded budget pledges.

He added, “It is not just doctors sounding this call: 77% of the public believe politicians are designing health policies simply to win votes. The scale of the campaign goes to demonstrate just how concerned doctors are, and we aim to ensure that every member of the public sees it and adds their voice to ours.”

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h903

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