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.

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
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
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Year 5 Teacher

    £80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

    Software Developer

    £35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

    Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

    £35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

    Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album