Intended for healthcare professionals

Medicopolitical Digest

BMA says that NHS crisis has startedCasualty departments should open 24 hoursBMA proposes strategy for after the internal market

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 11 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:956

The BMA has repeated its call for additional resources for the NHS and says that the crisis has already started well before the winter, with wards closing, operations cancelled, and shortages of nurses.

The association has welcomed the additional £1.2bn, which the government has announced, but this will be a one off sum and will not start before April 1998. It believes that the NHS needs an immediate injection of £500m and £1.5bn to £2bn for the next four years.

Speakers at last week's meeting of the BMA council criticised the government's commitment to the previous administration's spending levels. “If you do not spend you will not get the service,” Dr Andrew Carney, a senior psychiatric registrar, warned. The president, Lord Kilpatrick, insisted that the BMA had to get the message across that there was “an enormous problem.” There would be only emergency admissions if there was no more money.

The council was told that one health authority had put a stop on all non-urgent, non-fundholding, elective activities. Out of 15 fundholding practices, only four were admitting routine patients.

At a press conference the day after the meeting …

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