- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
The BMA Council has taken a decision to oppose the whole Health and Social Care Bill following a publication of draft guidance for commissioning support organisations.
Following the publication of draft guidance from the DoH – Developing commissioning support: Towards service excellence – the BMA will be urging clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to urgently review and where necessary change their structures to ensure they are able to fulfil their statutory functions without using private commissioning support.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has “misunderstood” commissioning support plans, the Department of Health has claimed.
In a statement to MiP a spokesperson from the DH said it will be BMA members that determine what form commissioning support takes in the future, not the government.
Following a final offer from the government, expected in December or January, BMA members will be asked to give their views on whether the offer is acceptable.
A BMA spokesman said the union would also use the vote to get a ‘steer’ on industrial action.
The BMA Council agreed on Thursday that ‘given the strength of feeling within the profession, members should have their say on the future of their pensions’.
Following the Council’s decision, the BMA will begin an intensive workplace outreach programme to raise awareness of the proposals and to help ensure members’ personal details are completely up to date – a vital step if a ballot is to go ahead.
BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum described the proposed reforms as ‘manifestly unfair’ since the NHS scheme was reviewed in 2008.
‘Doctors stand to be very hard hit by the proposed changes to the NHS pension scheme. Those at the start of their careers face the prospect of paying around £200,000 more in lifetime contributions, and of working much longer.
Whatever your view of the Health and Social Care Bill – evil instrument of NHS privatisation or empowering tool for clinician-led commissioning – you’ve got to respect people who go the extra mile to get their message across.
I’ve mentioned the chairman of the Israel Medical Association in the past who completed a 12-day hunger strike earlier this year in a bid to secure better pay, work conditions and funding for the country’s public doctors.
Dr Clive Peedell is about to embark on his own form of suffering in order to raise the profile of his anti-Health Bill campaign. He’s a clinical oncologist, co-chair of the NHS Consultants’ Association and a member of BMA council. Along with another oncologist Dr David Wilson, he’s going to be running 160 miles from Aneurin Bevan’s statue in Cardiff to the Department of Health in Whitehall.
It was Bevan, the founding father of the NHS, who famously said: “The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.”
The situation looks unlikely to improve any time soon as the health authority’s director of finance, Ian McDonald, confirmed there is a freeze on ”non-essential” recruitment.
He said that will last at least until the end of next March and probably beyond.
The disgruntled employee said: ”There are not enough bodies to do the work and we are getting absolutely pummelled with jobs. Management have got to save 30-odd million pounds so there are cutbacks and they are not filling jobs.
”The people that are left are getting hit with doing their own job and the jobs of the people that are not replaced. It is really hard and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.”
A Ninewells Hospital worker was unimpressed with the claim the freeze is limited to ”non-essential” posts.
”What the managers don’t realise is that if there aren’t enough cleaners, porters and kitchen staff, then the doctors and nurses can’t do their jobs properly. Doctors and nurses aren’t the only essential staff.”
Mr McDonald said he was leading by example and was not filling three posts that had become vacant in his own department.
”It just means every other member of staff is having to work a bit harder,” he said.
He explained that managers who want to take on staff and fill posts must go before an NHS Tayside panel that scrutinises the request.
”For posts that become vacant between now and March 31, they will be separated into two — essential to recruit or non-essential. Essential posts we will fill. If they are not essential, they will be deferred.
”That is not just an issue between now and March 31 but that would probably continue in to 2012/13 (financial year beginning April 1).”