Medicopolitical Digest

BUPA replies to BMA's criticismSalaried GPs to be focus for primary care pilot schemesDoctors criticise airline's sickness policyPathology and radiology will be excluded from PFI projectsTwo doctors join Commons health committee

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 19 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:194

BUPA replies to BMA's criticism

The British United Provident Association (BUPA) has responded to the BMA's criticisms of its partnership scheme. The BMA had advised consultants not to join the scheme (5 July, p 64; 12 July, p 130).

BUPA's medical director, Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, points out that over the past few years there has been a net outflow of subscribers from the private medical insurance market. The trend was likely to be exacerbated by the budget announcements on tax relief on private medical insurance for the over 60s and possibly insurance premium tax. The partnership was an attempt to bring confidence back into the market.

Contrary to the complaint that the scheme was an attempt to introduce “US-styled managed care,” Dr Vallance-Owen says in a letter to consultants that if the scheme was supported by enough consultants it would prevent a similar situation developing in Britain. It was not true that the initiative would restrict GPs' referral rights. “GPs will continue to refer on clinical grounds and will only be giving information which will help them assist insured patients …

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