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BMA publishes manifesto for next government

The British Medical Association (BMA) has published five key areas it wants the next Government to tackle to ensure that the NHS and patients are protected

The British Medical Association (BMA) has published five key areas it insists that the next Government must tackle to ensure the health of the nation and prevent the NHS from being pushed into further crisis.

Number one on the list is valuing the vital role doctors play across all health services and restoring their pay. It also says that doctors should be protected from any further erosion of their professional role and employment rights.

It says without looking after and retaining doctors, the next Government has no hope of improving peoples’ health or of high-quality treatment being readily available. Other key areas are:

  • Training and providing jobs for the next generation of doctors needed to meet demand.
  • Funding the services needed for the future of the health service.
  • Safeguarding the public’s health and wellbeing, prioritising preventative care.

BMA says there has been erosion of the medical profession

Without addressing all of these areas, the BMA says the UK will continue to lose doctors, peoples’ health declines further, the economy suffers more, and people will find it even harder to get the care they need on time, and from the right expert health professional.

BMA chair of council Professor Philip Banfield said: “We have an understaffed, under-resourced and under-performing health service, an exhausted and underpaid workforce and an increasingly unwell population. The next Government risks the collapse of free-at-the-point-of-need healthcare if it fails to address these issues and reverse the damage caused by years of austerity politics.

“Having enough doctors, with their unique skills and expertise, is at the core of this. In recent years we have seen erosion of the profession: with real-terms pay cut after real-terms pay cut, our professional expertise disregarded, and when we exercise our moral and professional duty to raise safety concerns these are too often run roughshod over by managers or executives who would rather protect the reputation of institutions than protect patients.”

Halt expansion of physician associate roles

The BMA has also called for urgent action to halt the recruitment and expansion of medical ‘associate’ roles such as physician associates, that are being used to substitute doctors and devalue medical expertise – confusing patients and putting safety at risk in the process.

It says that the refusal by the country’s leaders to tackle these issues will make it even more difficult for patients to see a doctor when they need on.

“If the next Government continues down this path, refusing to value and protect the medical profession, doctors will continue to leave, and the situation for patients – waiting for years for operations, weeks to see a GP, or days to be treated in A&E – will get far, far worse. Patients need doctors. Thankfully we are here to help the next Government guarantee that enough of us will be left to ensure the health of the NHS and the health of the country,” adds Professor Banfield.

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