BMA passes vote of no confidence in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

The BMA represents 152,000 doctors around the country

The British Medical Association, which represents 152,000 doctors, has passed a vote of no confidence in the health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Doctors said there was a “huge wave of anger” against Mr Hunt and the Coalition government. The motion was passed with an “ overwhelming majority”.

“He is at the forefront of a new political blame game, blaming frontline NHS staff for the predictable chaos resulting from his government's reforms and cuts,” said BMA council member Dr Jacky Davis.

“We are watching a good service being deliberately brought to its knees by vandals in Westminster.”

The BMA passed a vote of no confidence in the former health secretary Andrew Lansley last year. They now say they have no confidence in the policies of his successor Mr Hunt.

Chair of the BMA Council Dr Mark Porter admitted that voting against health secretaries was “rapidly becoming a BMA tradition”.

However, he urged members to back the motion.

“This present Coalition government goes out of its way to act against the interests of patients and in doing so it appoints secretaries of state to continue its policies,” he said.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “It is completely right that the Health Secretary demands the best possible care for patients. Following the findings of the Francis Inquiry and other recent reports, it is clear that the culture of the NHS needs to change and it is disappointing that the BMA union still doesn’t accept that.”

Earlier, in a stark admission that a culture of cover-up pervades the health service, the chair of the British Medical Association said doctors "do not feel safe" raising concerns about patient care, .

In his first speech as chairman of the BMA, Dr Mark Porter told doctors gathered for Association's annual conference: “Many doctors express fear about the consequences [of raising concerns], and this inhibits us from doing what we know to be right.”

His warning came as the former deputy chief executive of the NHS watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, denied allegations of a cover-up over regulation of a hospital where failings in maternity services may have led to the death of as many as 16 babies.

Critics have said the CQC relies too heavily on the assurances of doctors and clinical staff. The regulator and NHS officials have been criticised for prioritising the reputation of individuals over patient care.

Speaking at the BMA's Annual Representative Meeting in Edinburgh, Dr Porter said: “We will work with government, with medical managers, with nurses and physiotherapists and with anyone else we can, to guarantee the protection of the patients in our care. But doctors must feel comfortable and safe when raising concerns - at present we do not.”

Jill Finney, the former deputy chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there had been no decision to suppress and internal report which criticised the CQC over its handling of inspections at the Furness General Hospital in Barrow.

The CQC had given the hospital - run by the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust - a clean bill of health in 2010.

Ms Finney maintained that the internal report had identified failings in the CQC's handling of the hospital, but concluded that overall their regulation had been satisfactory - and therefore the report needed further work.

“There was no decision at that meeting to delete that report, nor was there an instruction,” she said.

The CQC has been criticised for lacking rigour in its inspections and relying to much on assurances from NHS Trusts - a claim that will raise further concerns in the light of Dr Porter's admission that doctors are often unprepared to speak out.

“If we have concerns, we must not be deterred by institutional boundaries. We must not be fobbed off by organisations that are better at protecting themselves than their patients. And we must not lose sight of why we became doctors. We have a responsibility to bring in a culture of quality and safety across the whole of the health service. And nothing should get in the way of that.”

Dr Porter added that increasing demand was dwindling funding was turning medicine into a profession “on the edge”.

He called the health secretary's recent assertion that GPs were to blame for declining standards in out-of-hours care, “shameful” and said it had “backfired”.

“It is absolutely clear from the figures that GPs are treating more patients, and with more complex problems. Thousands of GPs are helping to maintain and improve out-of-hours services,” he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

    Structured Finance

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

    SQL Server Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

    C#.NET Developer

    £600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone