Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digestHealth department shows lack of understandingBMA council supports action over review body remitBMA calls for urgent decision on ViagraConsultants are wary of revalidation proposalDoctors oppose regulation changesGetting consultant advice to PCGs

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 17 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1086

Health department shows lack of understanding

The BMA has accused the Department of Health of a lack of understanding in its evidence to the review body of the position faced by the profession.

Despite reports to the contrary, the department talks about “a consistently healthy position on recruitment and retention ‖. The number of GP registrars is now rising and there are a record number of doctors and dentists working for the health service.” The department says that it knows how unwelcome the staging of pay awards has been, but “our ability to end staging depends on pay settlements being consistent with the financial position of the health service.” In its evidence the department also says, “We believe that doctors and dentists are already well rewarded in a very secure job where they are not vulnerable, unlike many other professions, to slower growth in the wider economy.”

The chairman of the BMA council, Dr Ian Bogle, said that the evidence showed a complete lack of understanding. “There are obvious recruitment difficulties in hospital and general practice and we have drawn this to the review body's attention‖. We know, for instance, that there are 1000 unfilled GP partnership vacancies, a huge retirement bulge in the next few years, and shortages in key hospital specialties, including accident and emergency and paediatrics.”

BMA council supports action over review body remit

The BMA council has unanimously supported the stance the chairman has taken in opposing the government's proposal to amend the terms of reference of the doctors' and dentists' review body. It insists that the remit should remain unchanged “except by implicit agreement by the profession and government.” The chairman, Dr Ian Bogle, said, “We object strongly to the government attempting to rewrite the remit of the review body.”

The government has proposed that in future the review body should report to departmental ministers and not to the …

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