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Medicopolitical Digest

BMA will seek GMC advice over BUPA scheme

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:784

The BMA is to seek clarification of the General Medical Council's advice on financial inducements in its booklet, Good Medical Practice.

Good Medical Practice states: “If you have financial or commercial interests in organisations providing health care … these must not affect the way you prescribe for or refer patients,” and “If you have a financial or commercial interest in an organisation to which you plan to refer a patient you must tell the patient about your interest.”

Mr Derek Machin told the BMA council last week that the private practice committee, which he chairs, was worried that many consultants considering joining the British United Provident Association (BUPA) partnership scheme were still unclear about the GMC's position. Under the scheme BUPA has offered doctors an annual “bonus” on their private earnings if they agree normally to charge patients within a fee scale and treat them in BUPA recommended hospitals. “It is a point of principle,” Mr Machin said, “that private practice should mirror the NHS,” with GPs and consultants …

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