NHS reforms could destroy public trust in doctors, BMA warns

Trust between doctors and patients risks being shattered by new government proposals, the British Medical Association will warn today.

At a time when the medical profession feels it is facing a "crisis" in the NHS, the BMA's annual gathering starting today promises to be a forum for angry and contentious debate.

Opening the Annual Representative Meeting in Cardiff, the association's chairman, Dr Hamish Meldrum, will speak of the threat to the bond of faith between doctors and patients as an Ipsos MORI poll shows they are the most trusted profession, with an 88 per cent rating.

Government ministers and politicians are at the bottom of the poll, with 17 per cent and 14 per cent believing they will tell the truth. "In times of crisis, trust is more important than ever. This trust will be key to getting through the challenges we face over the next few years. And yet there is a danger that this trust could be put at risk by some of the Government's plans," said Dr Meldrum.

He added that the public will not let the Government gamble with the NHS and that doctors are not prepared to see this trust abused by policies that could undermine doctor-patient relationships.

The Coalition has already endorsed wholesale changes to controversial health reforms – giving patients a right to challenge poor services for the first time – after recommendations put forward by the NHS Future Forum. However, there remain serious concerns about the Health and Social Care Bill.

Today the editors of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said: "It would be better for the NHS, the Government, and the people of England to sweep [the amended Health and Social Care Bill's] mangled remains into an unmarked grave and move on."

In an editorial published today, Dr Tony Delamothe and Dr Fiona Godlee, said they were concerned the Future Forum recommendations would leave "the NHS with a similar proportion of bureaucrats to the Austro-Hungarian empire on the eve of the First World War – and about as flat footed".

The BMA is concerned about proposals to offer performance-related bonuses to GPs' consortia if they do well financially. Dr Meldrum said that if patients even suspected that their doctors would be rewarded for how well they do financially, it would be a serious breach of trust.

He added: "The more difficult the decisions we face the more trust is required – trust among all those with a stake in the outcome. And we are facing some very difficult decisions."

Patients and the public must be an integral part of the decision-making process, said Dr Meldrum, adding that the challenges now facing the NHS were the greatest in its history, particularly in terms of financial challenges.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “On the contrary, we believe our plans will improve trust as doctors will be free to tailor services around their patients. We are also ensuring local clinicians, including GPs, are fully accountable for improving the quality of care for patients in their communities.

“GPs already take decisions about when to refer patients, when to prescribe medicines and what treatments they should be given, and the first duty of doctors will always be to their patients. “

Suggested Topics
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
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

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

    2nd Line server support - Microsoft certified

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

    Reception Teacher required in Cardiff

    £100 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The...

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, Adobe, ...

    Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Functional/Full Life Cycle

    £20000 - £22000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Func...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?