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
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

    £18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

    Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific