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Battle For The NHS Continues As Government Amendments To Bill Rejected By Doctors

With the Con-dem(ned) government aiming to have the bill to privatise the NHS agreed in Parliament by 19th July, campaigning groups are continueing their fight to defend the NHS on social network websites, Twitter, Face Book and in the general media. The only issue seems to be that as usual, TV media in particular is ignoring the fact that despite government attempts in claiming that they have issued serious amendments to the Bill, the public do not believe they go far enough.

“Resistence is futile” according to Star Trek’s frightening aliens, the Borg, but the attempt by the government to asymilate the NHS into a private health care system like in the USA, is meeting with major resistence.

Today, the British Medical Association delegates at their annual conference in Cardiff, has called for the controversial health and social care bill to be withdrawn.  

BMA delegates defied calls from the union's leadership and backed a motion that demanded further big changes to key elements of the bill, dismissing the coalition's changes to its health plans as inadequate to protect the NHS; and demanded that the controversial health and social care bill be withdrawn altogether, saying it will not protect the NHS. They also expressed serious concerns that changes to the bill agreed by ministers after the NHS Future Forum report do not go far enough.

Meanwhile the Labour Party today accused the Government of retaining key elements of the controversial reforms, despite promising to change them following the Future forum report.

Today’s Guardian reports the shadow health secretary, John Healey, as saying that despite ministers tabling 180 amendments to the bill, the Tories' long-term aim of breaking up the NHS and establishing a "full-scale market" remained intact.

The article continues by reporting on the BMA conference:

“The BMA conference passed a motion that said the government's response to the forum's report earlier this month "fails to satisfactorily address the concerns of the profession". It identified four key areas of continuing anxiety about the reformulated bill, which has begun a second period of scrutiny in the House of Commons by a public bill committee of MPs.

Speakers argued that the Secretary of State for Health's duty to provide comprehensive health services in England – which ministers said they would restore after it was removed in Andrew Lansley's original version of the bill – was still not guaranteed. They rejected the reassurance of the BMA's leader, Dr Hamish Meldrum, that legal advice taken by the union meant that the minister would remain ultimately responsible in the future.

Delegates also voiced dissatisfaction that the health regulator, Monitor, would still promote competition between hospitals as envisaged by Lansley in his NHS blueprint, which led to a split in the coalition, despite David Cameron agreeing to replace it with a duty to promote integration of services instead. They voted by 70% to 22% to defy Meldrum's advice that the duty to promote competition "has gone" as part of the government's rethink.

Delegates also backed, by 93% to 5%, the part of the motion that argued "that competition should not be forced on the NHS by imposing any duties on commissioners to promote choice as a higher priority than tackling fair access and health inequalities"."

Despite this, many fear the Bill will go through by 19th July simply because the Liberal Democrat fears about it have been quashed by and large.

See also: Any Qualified Provider Remains As NHS Privatisation Planned To Be Phased In

Source: The Guardian / Twitter

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