Medicopolitical Digest

The BMA's annual representative meetingThere must be more short stay bedsThe meeting..Seniors and juniors unite on workloadBMA divisions continue to be supportedThe meeting ..Doctors are haemorrhaging from the NHSMedical schools at saturation pointThe meeting ..BMA stress service receives nearly 800 callsAcademic medicine is in crisisBMJ reaches 300 000 readersDoctors should not endorse gun licence applicationsThe meeting ..Meeting criticises new asylum billDoctors should boycott NHS wide networkMore support needed for drug dependent doctorsAdvance directives should not be specificBMA will study domestic violenceThe meeting ..Community care is not a cheap optionSupervised discharge needs to be strengthenedDoctors should not report on doctors' poor performanceService medical officers are under threatThe meeting ..

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 06 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:51
  1. Linda Beecham,
  2. Jane Smith

    The BMA's annual representative meeting

    “Efficiency savings are a con”

    The BMA has roundly and unanimously condemned the government imposed 3% efficiency savings, repeating the condemnation of all the craft conferences earlier in the month (15 June p1497). It believes that the NHS is now unable to respond to surges in demand and it will make urgent representations to the health secretary.

    Dr Terry John (Waltham Forest) called the process “a pernicious development.” There had been an increase in demand for NHS hospital services: in 1990-1 there had been seven million finished consultant episodes; this figure had risen to 10.5m in 1994-5. Money was needed to fund more sophisticated treatment, to fund pay settlements, and to fund the Calman report.

    As a clinical director of children's services in Canterbury Dr James Appleyard said that the funding of contracts was related to the number of children admitted, the number of children treated as outpatients, and the number of day cases. But this did not reflect the fluctuating workload. “Am I expected to cut staff, which absorbs 80% of the budget, and thus not ensure a safe service?” Or should he corral children into beds when their care should be at home with a little extra help? “Efficiency savings are a con,” Dr Appleyard declared. “We should get rid of this unnecessary, harmful, timeconsuming, arbitrary, fiscal fiddle.”

    “Efficiency savings have become another word for cuts,” according to Dr Sam Everington (council). He is a general practitioner in Tower Hamlets in east London and he told the meeting that a 72 year old patient with breast cancer had been told that she would have to wait 10 weeks for an operation. Despite ringing the chief executive several times he had no success. Another hospital said that there would be a wait of seven weeks. Eventually the lady had the operation at a third …

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