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Medicopolitical Digest

Doctors continue to report funding problemsBMA wants to meet health secretary on white papersGPs seek amendments to primary care bill

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 18 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:233

Doctors continue to report funding problems

Members at the recent BMA council meeting reported continual problems with funding and operational pressures.

Many NHS trusts will start the new financial year with a substantial deficit. The National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts has already indicated that an additional £200m will be needed and the BMA believes that without some immediate additional funding a substantial part of next year's growth money will have to be mortgaged.

The government has set a target of 2.7% for efficiency savings for 1997 but Dr Colin Smith, chairman of the Medical Academic Staff Committee, told the BMA council that the target was not mandatory. Many purchasers were demanding up to 5% from already efficient units. He believed that the decisions on which trusts to target were based on flawed information from performance indicators and were directed almost exclusively at the hospital sector. The BMA's health policy and economic research unit calculates that the net effect of efficiency savings has been to reduce nominal growth in the health service from 1984-5 to 1996-7 from 42% to 13%.

The chairman of the Welsh council, Dr Bryn John, reported that Dyfed and Powys Health Authority was planning to close up to …

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