Medicopolitical Digest

BMA chairman warns against quick fixesBMA responds to Commission on Social JusticeLabour party will not rule out private finance for health

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 29 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1676
  1. Linda Beecham

    BMA chairman warns against quick fixes

    “We cannot go on meeting each succeeding crisis with quick fix expedients which merely displace the pain and strain elsewhere,” Dr Sandy Macara told the BMA's representative body at the beginning of its annual meeting this week. The chairman of council was referring to the “perilous parody” of pretending that providers could be expected to make efficiency savings year on year without disaster striking.

    Dr Macara said that 3% was no trifling sum and the cumulative effects of the imposition of such cunningly concealed cuts could not be denied any longer. “We cannot go on doing more and more work for more and more patients with less and less resources,” he said. The system was condemning the clinical winners to becoming the financial losers.


    The present situation had been described as shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic. The ship of state—the NHS—needed to change course and after the health minister's listening tour of general practice Dr Macara wondered if the government would now listen to other groups. Would it listen to general practitioners' judgment about core services? Would it listen to the juniors' concerns about the failure to fund the proposals in the Calman report on specialist training? Would it listen to consultants' complaints about their burgeoning workload? Would it listen to the sound of their exodus as they jostled for early retirement? Would it listen to the beleaguered clinical academics? Would it listen to the cries of public health physicians incarcerated in the purchasing prison?

    The last two annual meetings had supported the chairman's call …

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