Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

The BMA and its staff’s private health cover

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 21 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5199

Rapid Response:

Re: The BMA and its staff’s private health cover

NHS is like non-branded, cheap, paracetamol, doing a good job at minimal cost. This cost effectiveness is the strength of the NHS as well as its weakness. If well-off individuals want to buy the ‘bells and whistles’ of private medical insurance, then so be it.(1).

Having experienced the worst excesses of private medicine in India, I am in awe of the NHS. At a societal level, NHS is an institution beyond compare. But in defence of private medicine, I have to add that in a democratic society, we have to support individual choice. We cannot force people to buy supermarket ‘own brand’ goods just because it offers good value for money.

As regards private medical insurance, BMA should be pragmatic in offering perks so as to attract good staff and certainly not wilt under stubborn, principled opposition to private medical insurance.(1).

1. Spence D - The BMA and its staff's private health cover. BMJ2013;347:f5199

Competing interests: Provider and consumer of private medical care.

27 August 2013
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
BMI Park Hospital & Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust