BMA in the News 1st October

As supplied by BMA Comms

Evening and weekend GP appointments going unfilled

Today marks the deadline, set by David Cameron in 2014, for all areas to offer extended access GP appointments, yet according to an investigation by Pulse magazine, demand for the service remains low. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that around 25 per cent of evening and weekend slots are going unfilled, while in one area only 3 per cent of its Sunday slots are being used.

Commenting on the statistics, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: “Because it has become a political must-do, everybody is jumping. We understand there is huge pressure from the centre on CCGs to demonstrate they are providing a full seven-day service.

“Sensible CCGs that want to use their resources in a better way are under pressure to maintain a service that really isn’t good value for money.

“That is ridiculous so I think we really do need to see much more common sense and pragmatic flexibility… if we had the luxury of resource and workforce then we could look at extending the service but until then we’ve got to focus on what is most important.”

Pulse’s investigation, and Dr Vautrey’s comments were also features in the Daily Mail, the Guardian, The Times, the Daily Telegraph and more.

Hundreds underpaid at hospital

More than 600 workers at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust were underpaid – some by thousands of pounds – after overtime, expenses and unsocial hours were not taken into account this month. The Daily Gazette quotes a tweet from the BMA East of England regional junior doctors committee, which stated: “Hearing of significant problems at @ESNEFT with many members of staff of all professions being paid the wrong wages, many hundreds some more than a thousand pounds short.”

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, BMA junior doctors committee chair, said: “We know that junior doctors being paid incorrectly, or at times not at all, has become all too common for a workforce with lives, families, and financial commitments to meet. We hope the trust will work with us to swiftly resolve these issues.”

According to the paper, more than 500 staff have now been paid in full, with the rest expected in the coming days.

Pension rules now hitting middle earners

A news feature in the Daily Telegraph covered the growing protests against public sector pension tax relief cuts that have left middle earners worse off. The piece references BMA guidance which warns that NHS staff “with long service and or significant promotional pay rises” are most likely to be affected.

Missed appointments cost NHS millions

There was more regional coverage of statistics compiled by the Press Association on the prevalence of missed outpatient appointments and the subsequent cost to the NHS. Approximately 8.6 per cent of outpatient appointments in England were missed, rising to 18 per cent at some trusts. Breaking down the figures regionally, the story was covered by the Bridgnorth Journal, Hartlepool Mail, Kent Messenger, Medway Messenger, Oxford Mail, South Shropshire Journal, Sunderland Echo and the Hunts Post.

Responding to the figures, Dr Robert Harwood, BMA consultants committee chair, said:

“It is important that no appointments are wasted at a time when the NHS is under incredible stress. We should not stigmatise patients who may for legitimate reasons be unable to attend. However, we do need the NHS to emphasise through clear publicity to the public that given the current unprecedented pressure, patients should make every possible effort to rearrange their appointment so that another person is able to receive treatment in their place.”

Other news

Research released by the Labour Party has revealed that the NHS will suffer cuts worth £2.7bn after the government miscalculated the pension costs of public sector workers, the Mirror reports. The Labour party has said that the money lost could have paid for the salaries of over 61,900 nurses.

The Telegraph reports that an unpublished inquiry by the cabinet office reveals that police are illegally detaining more than 4,000 mentally ill people in custody a year because of a lack of NHS beds. Delays in finding a bed means that thousands of those being arrested and in need of mental health care, some as young as 15, are being held for up six days without charge.

An opinion piece by Wellcome’s director, Jeremy Farrar, in the science section of the Guardian warns that a no-deal Brexit would stall the NHS medical revolution. He argues that the NHS has thus far benefitted from being at the forefront of genomic medicine, largely because the UK has been an attractive place to “collaborate and invest in science”. A no-deal Brexit, he fears, would be hugely damaging for future research collaborations.

The Observer reports that the health secretary is expected to announce that the government is to produce the first official guidelines on the maximum amount of time young people should spend on social media in order to address mental health problems among children.



BMA in the news 18.09.2018  

BMA in the news all supplied by BMA comms


Prevention must be the priority

Following the publication of the BMA’s prevention paper, the Worcester News featured a letter from BMA board of science committee chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar highlighting the case for better lifestyle management and a focus on living healthier. “In the West Midlands, too many people are dying needlessly each from preventable long-term conditions associated with premature deaths. With the right intervention at the beginning, many lives could be saved,” she writes.

More support needed to help smokers quit

Professor Kumar also wrote to the Staines Chronicle and Informer in response to a recent Royal College of Physicians report on the decline in smoking cessation services. She said: “Patients in hospitals often receive advice and support to quit smoking but we must improve training and resources for health workers to ensure this becomes a routine part of caring for all smokers seeking NHS services, particularly for people with long-term conditions and mental health problems.”

Prescription fraud crackdown

The Lancashire Telegraph reports on a new NHS campaign encouraging patients to check before assuming they are entitled to free prescriptions. The Check Before You Tick campaign aims to reduce the £256m cost to the NHS caused by people wrongfully claiming free prescriptions. BMA council deputy chair and Lancashire representative Dr David Wrigley told the paper: “There is no harm in a patient information campaign to help patients know if they are eligible for free prescriptions or not.”

Rota gaps leave doctors stretched the limit

In a letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post, BMA consultants committee chair Dr Rob Harwood addresses the workforce crisis in hospitals, following the findings from the BMA’s recent rota gaps survey, which showed two-thirds of doctors had been asked to cover a more senior role or act down for someone more junior. He writes: “As doctors and other healthcare workers are forced to spread themselves more thinly, the cost to patient care is clear.”

A&E figures ‘paint a bleak picture’

Dr Harwood was also quoted in the Yorkshire Evening Post, in response to last week’s A&E figures, which showed attendances had grown by 22 per cent over the last 10 years. He said: “These statistics paint a bleak picture of what both staff and patients in A&E departments across the country face on a daily basis, and should serve as a warning for the future.

“They clearly show that the worrying increase in demand that doctors have been warning about for some time is now a reality – yet there is no additional capacity to meet this.”

Other news

The Guardian reports that researchers are calling for people in England to take part in a study looking at the link between genetics and anxiety and depression in what is expected to be the largest ever study of its kind. The project, by the National Institute for Health Research BioResource and King’s College London, is calling for 40,000 volunteers to send a saliva sample by post.

Midwives have called for women to be given official targets for how much weight they can gain during pregnancy amid concern about the risk posed to children by Britain’s obesity problem, the Times reports. The Royal College of Midwives wants limits to be set after research showed that too much weight gain by mothers could lead to babies growing into unhealthy schoolchildren, with guidance under consideration by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.


BMA in the news 10.09.2018  

As supplied by BMA Comms

Rush for post-Brexit deals could see NHS sold off to highest bidder

Ministers risk prioritising economic benefits over the health of the UK as the government races to secure international trade deals post-Brexit, warns the BMA in a new briefing paper. As the House of Lords debates the Trade Bill today, the BMA has detailed the  risks posed by Brexit, focusing on the danger future trade deals could pose to the delivery of care in the UK.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “As the clock ticks down to our departure from the EU, the uncertainty surrounding post-Brexit Britain poses an ever more serious risk to the health service, its patients and its workforce.

Dr Nagpaul added: “With a no-deal scenario looking more probable every day and the UK facing the real possibility of having to trade under WTO rules, there will likely be an appetite from the government to secure new agreements that will go some way to minimise Brexit’s cost to the economy. However, these new trade deals absolutely must not put money ahead of the nation’s health.”

The news was covered in The Yorkshire Post and the BMA’s stance was echoed in an editorial by MP and family doctor Philip Lee forThe Independent.

There was further coverage of the BMA’s call for permanent residence for EU doctors and medical researchers in the UK to cope with the effects of Brexit in The Gloucester Gazette, The Wiltshire Times and The Weymouth Dispatch.

Amount of NHS land earmarked for sale is soaring, figures show
Ministers have been accused of “selling off the NHS family silver” after figures revealed that the amount of health service land being earmarked for sale to private developers is soaring. The Guardian reports The NHS is seeking buyers for 718 different plots of land or buildings it owns across England, prompting fears that underfunding has forced cash-strapped NHS trusts to dispose of vital assets.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “These figure show a staggering increase in sale of NHS land in the last two years. This begs serious questions as to the reason for this surge. Was this land actually surplus or are these sales being used to plug financial deficits in hospital trusts as a result of a decade of underfunding?”

He added: “It is vital to safeguard the sale of NHS land and estate from perverse short-term financial incentives, and which may result in a reduction in estate and facilities that is insufficient to meet the future needs of patients. These figures demand scrutiny. Selling land shouldn’t be a way for the health service to make up for austerity-era cuts – especially if it could come at the expense of patient care.”

Study highlights racial discrimination in doctors’ pay

BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, was interviewed on BBC Asian Network yesterday in response to a study in the BMJ which found that senior doctors from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds working in the NHS in England get paid less than their white peers. A clip from this interview featured on local news bulletins throughout the weekend on stations such as BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Wiltshire.

Public Health England heart health checker could see influx of pointless GP consultations

GPs have expressed concerns about Public Health England’s latest campaign, after they found that it tells anyone over 30 to go to their GP if their cholesterol level or blood pressure is unknown, Pulse reports.  BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: “Improving a population’s heart health requires public health initiatives to encourage healthy eating, regular exercise and a change of lifestyle, including help to quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake.”

Dr Vautrey added: “However, with these services stretched, it is GPs and their staff, as the first point of contact for many patients, who bear the workload brunt when their local area’s health suffers.”

The comments come as PHE are also asking GPs to measure and record patients’ BMI routinely as part of a future strategy to reduce the prevalence of adult obesity. Speaking to Pulse, BMA GP committee clinical and prescribing lead Dr Andrew Green expressed his concerns that this would become a ‘screening programme’ without being agreed nationally.

Fears flu jab shortage could impact older people

The Daily Express reports fears of a flu vaccine shortage were raised by doctors who warned they are not receiving enough vital stock of the new job for the elderly.
BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: “The forthcoming flu campaign is going to be difficult for practices and patients because of the phased delivery of vaccine related to the limited availability.”

GP leaders warn of ‘conflict of interest’ for new record digitising services

The NHS Business Services Authority is launching a scanning service for GP practices to digitise old patient records but Dr Robert Morley from the BMA GP committee questioned a fully-owned government agency should be charging practices for a service they must use to adhere to national strategy. Read more in Pulse.


Meet three doctors who joined NHS on Day 1

Continuing this year’s NHS at 70 celebrations, The People spoke with three doctors who worked for the NHS from its first day. According to the paper, around 200 medics who witnessed the health service’s birth are still alive, and the GMC says 60 still pay a fee to remain on the register as non-practising doctors. Former BMA council chair, Dr John Marks, now aged 90, recalled being thrown in at the deep end in his first job at the now-closed St Leonard’s Hospital in Shoreditch. Read more about his experiences here.

GPs accused of ignoring NHS patients in favour of private clients

The Mail on Sunday claims GPs are driving up waiting times by seeing ‘lucrative’ private clients over NHS patients. One in 30 GP consultations is privately paid for, according to the latest available figures in a 2014 report by market research firm LaingBuisson, netting doctors £550 million a year.

We spoke to a GP at a west London surgery about the newspaper’s claims they could get an immediate appointment on app Doctaly to see her, but told by the receptionist the next available appointment for NHS patients wasn’t for two weeks, and supported them to provide an appropriate response. The article mentions a BMA motion to limit the number of appointments to maintain safe practice.
Cancer Connections book honoured with national BMA book award

The Shields Gazette speaks to the author of a book, Connecting with Cancer, lauded as the Chair’s choice at the BMA medical book awards earlier this month.

Co-founder of South Tyneside charity Cancer Connections, Reg Hall, said he was delighted to have won the award. Read our press release here.

Posh new building won’t make up for lack of GPs

In a letter published today, Avril Lake from Porthcawl wrote a letter to The South Wales Echo regarding the multi-million pound health complex which is to be opened in February 2019.

Avril writes “As a resident of Porthcawl, how is a multi-million-pound stylish, new building with a view of the duck pond rather than the car park going to improve access to health facilities I need to access? It is time for whoever sanctioned the spending of millions of pounds of public money on the new building to ensure those who will need to use the facility see overstretched GP services improved as well.”

Other news

Government health advisor and health writer Ben Goldacre criticises the NHS heart test as ‘ridiculous’ in The Daily Telegraph, suggesting the test will needlessly frighten millions of healthy people.

NHS staff will be able to voice complaints and express frustrations about their jobs and bosses in an online service set up by the government to tackle poor morale in the health service. Read more in The Times.

Thousands of NHS patients may have been subjected to serious harm after a massive IT blunder left GPs without vital medical information about hospital discharges, HuffPost UK can reveal. An urgent investigation has been launched by East and North Herts Hospital NHS Trust following the discovery that its Lorenzo software system at Lister Hospital in Stevenage had failed to send out up to 25,000 “discharge summary” letters to local doctors.

The NHS won’t pay for patients with a degenerative form of multiple sclerosis to receive a new drug which can slow the disease and give up to seven additional years before they need a wheelchair, The Independent reports.

2018-09-10 Deputy Chairs Report for MSC

The following is an amended version of the Deputy Chairs report for MSC

LNC Report

The issues that are currently under discussion with the management are:
1. The Raising Concerns policy:

The LNC interest in this policy revision arises from an instance when a group of consultants, who had raised concerns about a colleague in confidence, had their names disclosed to the person who was the subject of the concerns. This disclosure occurred at the very first meeting the individual had with the then medical director without any discussion with the whistle blowers. The Trust subsequently accepted that this inappropriate and agreed to revise the policy but only after intervention by the Chair of the Trust.  The LNC has provided to the Trust, a form of words that it hopes will prevent this from happening in the future.

2. Occupational Health issues:
This concerns the disclosure of sensitive personal medical information about medical staff obtained during visits to occupational health, being routinely copied to the previous Medical Director and to Human Resources without proper consent. The Trust has now put a stop to this practice after it was raised by the LNC. What remains unresolved currently, is how such personal medical information without adequate consent should be dealt with.

3. Job Planning policy:
Management side is there proposing a revision to the job planning policy and this will likely be a matter for the next committee meeting.

4. Trade union recognition:
The LNC represents all medical staff and this authority is recognised by the trust in a union recognition and partnership agreement. The trust is seeking to revise this and LNC will be providing appropriate input as required .

5. Junior Doctor issues:
Exception reporting etc are always am agenda item


BMA regional and national matters

There are a number of upcoming meeting some of them are open

 Upcoming  meetings

  •  London Regional Council ABM                          12th September Open
  • Professional Fees Committee                            13th September  (MEx Cod)
  • Medical examiner in cause of death                  20th September
  • NE London Regional Consultants Committee  26th September
  • UK CC                                                                      11th  October           
  • European Union of Medical Specialists            19TH/20TH October (ETRs)
  • London Regional Council Assembly                  23rd October   Open
  • BMA International Committee                          24th October
  • European Forum                                                   21st November


Education matters

NMUH has welcomed the UCL 6th Year who began on 3rd September. 5th Year Obs and & Gynae students start 17th September. 6th Year OSCE are set for    November 14th Wednesday am/pm and January  30th  Wednesday am/pm. The Real exams are on 14th March Thursday. Examiners and patients always needed. New examiners contact the education centre. The policy is that assessing for summative OSCEs can only occur if consultants have previously assessed at mock OSCEs. There is a the new teaching fellow here until end of July. He particularly has asked that consultants could scout for suitable patients for the clinical examination stations (respiratory, gastroenterology, cardiac and neurological) – preferably 10 to ensure there is a suitable number and as backups. He can be  contacted on


There are two consultant email lists

Any maintenance of a List  on the Trust Computer should be the responsibility of the Trust to fulfill its duties of proper communication. It should be the responsibility of the Trust as laid down in a Standard Operating Procedure or Trust Policy who is responsible for uploading names at induction and removing names at retirement.  It is laid down in the trade union facilities agreement that The Trust should allow good communication with the Union members. It would be wrong to split the responsibility between the Trust duties for the LNC communicating with union members and communication to consultants by the MSC.  Whatever the Trust Policy or SOP on the matter, if there is one, should be adhered to.






The retired members meetings are organised to encourage retired members to convene and discuss common issues as well as providing an opportunity to meet colleagues and friends.

A report of the 2018 Retired Members Conference can be found at

Richard Rawlins is the current chair of the Retired Members Committee

Most recent update is found at.

with very useful information



 If you are thinking of retiring or have retired you will be aware that you can maintin your membership at a reduced subscription (Currently £166 per year  which can be set against tax)

Many of you having subscribed to the BMA for some years, and have had the benefit of representation and negotiation during your career. Please not stop your support now you are retired or thinking of retiring.

You are likely to need a motivated, dedicated medical workforce to care for you even more – and the BMA is the best insurance you can obtain to ensure our profession is not demoralised any further.

Your subscriptions maybe reduced, but they will materially help the BMA in its difficult task.

Without a vibrant and well supported BMA, the medical profession, and the patients it is dedicated to serve will suffer. The other benefits of membership are valuable, but your continued support of and membership of our profession’s best representative body is even more valuable as you advance further through the years.

The BMA provides a telephone counselling and advisory service specifically for doctors and medical students. It should be noted BMA membership is not required for this. This service is available 24/7 and can be accessed by calling 0330 123 1245.  There are also a vast amount of support services for both specific issues and general wellbeing on the BMA website  The BMA is also co-owner of DocHealth  a new confidential, not for profit, psychotherapeutic consultation service for all doctors. Although located in London the service is open to all doctors in the UK. It is supported by the BMA and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF).

For those who live outside of the UK or are planning to retire outside of the UK you can still be a retired member of the BMA  with the advantage of you keeping in contact with what is going on in the UK and potentially having small groups of BMA members in specific countries. (even if not previously a BMA member)

For more information


Thanks to Richard Rawlins, David Curry and Ian Wilson for their assistance in the above piece

BMA In the News

20th August 2018 As Supplied by BMA Comms

BMA stands by Brexit warnings

Following the publication last week of the BMA’s briefing paper outlining the dangers to healthcare if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, Nigel Farage announced his return to political campaigning in an op-ed on Saturday for The Telegraph in which he cited the report: “[W]e are subjected to a daily stream of negative media stories about Brexit in an attempt to beat us into submission. The latest example of this was the British Medical Association suggesting that a No Deal Brexit would lead to huge numbers of people dying. This baseless claim proves only one thing: Project Fear is thriving.”

Responding to Mr Farage’s criticism, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, told The Independent: “The consequences of a no-deal Brexit are potentially catastrophic – for patients, for the medical workforce and for the nation’s health. It is not scaremongering for us, Britain’s doctors, to be honest in warning about the real dangers – based on evidence – that crashing out of the EU could have on health services. We owe it to patients and the British public who have a right to be presented with the facts before having a final say on Brexit.”

The BMA’s warnings were further covered in The Daily Star, Channel 4 News and LBC.

Surgeon-general responds to BMA concerns over military GP IT systems

The Times followed up Friday’s exclusive story about IT problems in military general practice on Saturday, reporting on an upcoming meeting between representatives from the BMA’s armed forces committee and staff from the surgeon-general’s office. Responding to the concerns outlined by the BMA in the original Times article, the surgeon-general, Lieutenant-General Martin Bricknell, wrote in a blog post: ““The use of any medical IT system that poses even the smallest hazard to our people deserves our full attention. If there are problems, we are committed to addressing these in the most efficient way possible.”

The story was also picked up by The Guardian, The Sun and MailOnline. Watch AFC chair Dr Glynn Evans speaking with Forces TV about the issueshere.

BMA Scotland council chair to retire early over pressures

The Times Scottish edition’s front page reports that BMA Scotland council chair Dr Peter Bennie is to retire early from the health service over daily pressures and staff shortages.

In an interview with the paper, Dr Bennie, who will retire aged 55 after 32 years in the health service, said: “One of the things which makes my colleagues quite happy about retirement is that working as a doctor is increasingly stressful, because of the fear of what might go wrong and not being supported with that and the lack of sufficient colleagues to feel you can do the best job that you can.”

What should we call junior doctors?

The Times reports on a poll being carried out by Health Education England, asking healthcare staff and the public to propose an alternative term for junior doctors. The survey is being led by Scarlett McNally, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, follows claims that the term is “discriminatory and belittling”. Commenting on the poll, BMA junior doctors committee chair Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya said: “While what we call [junior doctors] may divide some, we are united in our desire to tackle the more pressing issues affecting their lives, including unsafe rotas, low morale and unacceptable working conditions.”

Council’s bid to end period poverty

East Lothian Council in Scotland is putting free tampons and sanitary towels in all of its buildings to help those experiencing “period poverty”. The i Newsreferences the BMA’s ARM motion calling on the government to provide sanitary products for free.

Other news

A King’s Fund report suggests that some patients should be treated by admin staff when they visit their GP. Report author Beccy Baird told The Telegraph: “We need to look at different models. It could be a ‘microteam’  – where patients are assigned to a team, rather than to one GP, so that there is a nurse care manager, an admin worker and a care assistant doing much of the work, and the patient doesn’t always have to see a GP.”

Patients are avoiding visiting the GP over fears they will be told bad news or “lectured” about their unhealthy lifestyles, according to a study from University College London. The story was covered in MailOnline and BBC Breakfast.

EU migrants living in the UK will be given right to remain here, even in the case of a no-deal Brexit, according to leaked Cabinet papers. The Telegraphhas the story.

Dangerous syringe pumps allegedly linked to hundreds of deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital continued to be used in the NHS for eight years in a bid to cut costs, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times.


BMA in the news

17.08.2018 as supplied by BMA Comms

Poor military IT impacting healthcare of troops

The BMA armed forced committee chair, Colonel Glynn Evans, did an exclusive interview with the Times which featured as the main story on their front page this morning. In it he warned that poor IT systems were placing troops’ healthcare at risk. Speaking to the Times, Colonel Evans said: “They are worried about the systematic failure of the IT system not allowing them to deliver safe medical care,” He added: “My members tell me this represents potentially material risk to the soldiers, sailors and airmen they look after.”

Some of the issues include, computer screens freezing on a daily basis, difficulty checking medical history records and incomplete checks on potentially harmful anti-malarials such as Lariam.  Colonel Evans called for an urgent fix and said that the surgeon-general must accept responsibility for the interim risk to patient care.

The story was also covered by the Sun and by Politics Home

NHS has not been prioritised in Brexit negotiations

To coincide with the publication of the BMA briefing paper on the impact to healthcare in the event of a no-deal Brexit, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, has written an exclusive opinion piece for the Independent as he warns that the NHS has not been prioritised in the Brexit negotiations. He writes:  “The UK government has finally started planning to ensure the health sector and industry are prepared in the short term for a no-deal Brexit, including stockpiling medicines and equipment and reviewing supply chains.” He added: “We believe this is too little, too late and, quite frankly, proof that the impact on the NHS has not received the attention it deserves in the Brexit negotiations.”

The was further coverage of the briefing paper in the Financial Times, Daily Mail, Irish News, iNews, BMJ, Cornwall live, Plymouth Herald, Daily Recordand GP online and was mentioned on Talk Radio.

Commenting on the briefing paper, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said:

“The BMA believes the public should have a final informed say on the Brexit deal and, to reject the notion of a ‘no deal’ given all the serious risks that such an outcome carries.”

He added: “Some will say the BMA is scaremongering by warning of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit, but this is not the case … As experts in delivering health services and providing care for our patients, we have a duty to set out the consequences of leaving the EU with no future deal in place.”


Call for specialist unit to investigate medical manslaughter

 Pulse and GP online report that the BMA has called for a national police unit that is dedicated to investigating gross negligence manslaughter cases in health care. In evidence submitted to the GMC’s independent review, the BMA had suggested that the specialist unit would ensure investigations are ‘processed promptly, reliably and consistently’.

Responding to the GMC-commissioned review into gross negligence manslaughter, the BMA said:  ‘The BMA is concerned that serious incidents are currently not always investigated in a timely and effective manner, with robust action plans not always properly developed and implemented and learning shared as appropriate.’


NHS performance figures show NHS in year-round crisis

There was further coverage of the BMA consultants committee chair Dr Robert Harwood’s interview with the Press Association about recently published performance data that indicates the NHS is in a year-round state of crisis focusing on the lack of critical care beds, in the Lancaster Guardian.

Other news

The Huffington Post reports that the government has been urged to make e-cigarettes available on the NHS after as a report published today by Parliament’s science and technology select committee said the government should “urgently” review the approval systems for prescribing e-cigarettes.

The Telegraph reports on research by the King’s Fund which reveals that more GP’s are choosing to work part time as they are increasingly choosing to widen their portfolio of work outside of the surgery due to the intense and unmanageable workloads in general practice.


No deal Brexit ?

16th August 2018
The BMA today published a briefing on the potential dangers of a No Deal Brexit
The briefing document can be accessed at
Also I note from the minutes of a recent GMC Council meeting (publically puublished)
  • Has established an internal working group on EU withdrawal.
  • Continues to argue strongly in favour of legislation to reform professional regulation.
 The aims of this internal working group are to
  • scope the potential impact and opportunities arising from the vote to leave the EU
  • identify GMC  legislative priorities
  •  influence any regulatory developments until the time that the UK actually leaves the EU.
  •  help implement the new regime, including possible transitional arrangements.
 The risks the GMC has identified include
  • Brexit will inevitably have a significant impact on the UK Government’s legislative programme
  • Whether or not there is a realistic prospect of early legislation.
  • The volume of legislation required to withdraw the UK from the EU will mean that there is potentially insufficient parliamentary time to introduce statutory reform.

BMA in the news this weekend

As supplied by BMA Comms

NHS performance figures show NHS in year-round crisis
BMA consultants committee chair Dr Robert Harwood was interviewed by Press Association about recently published performance data that indicates the NHS is in a year-round state of crisis. The figures show over half a million people waited over four months for hospital treatment, and three and a half thousand people waited more than a year.

The Wirral Globe used extracts from Dr Harwood’s interview in an article about the lack of critical care beds at a teaching hospital in the region. Dr Rob Harwood said that critical care units work hard to keep occupancy at a lower level, to allow them to accept unpredictable emergency admissions. He said: “If units are down to the last couple of beds then critical care consultants have to start making very difficult decisions about who to admit. These pressures can no longer be blamed on the winter,” he added. “The NHS has been starved of resources over the last 8-10 years and we still expect it to deliver the goods.” Dr Harwood added: “Without this, the NHS will continue to fail to meet demand, patients will continue to suffer unnecessarily, and the current workforce will be stretched even more thinly.”

Majority of GPs intend to retire before the age of 60
The majority of GPs are intending to retire before the age of 60, Pulse reports.
A survey of 759 members by the trade magazine found the average GP will retire at 59 because the work burden has become too great and their living standard has deteriorated rapidly. Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee executive team member, said: “While 59 may not seem a particularly young retirement age, it is concerning that many GPs would like to retire earlier, citing burnout.

Dr Kasaraneni added: “GPs are unable to continue working under this intense pressure, seeing dozens of patients a day, dealing with heavy workloads and plugging staff shortages. Others are no longer willing or able to deal with the burden of running a practice when funding for services has not kept up with demand, making the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care difficult.”

“Virgin has secured NHS funding that could have been spent on patients”

New analysis reported in The Guardian revealed Richard Branson’s Virgin is now one of the leading healthcare providers having been awarded almost £2bn in NHS contracts in the past five years. BMA consultants committee chair Dr Robert Harwood said the BMA had already laid out its concerns with the increasing role independent sector providers.
Dr Harwood said: “Two years later, these concerns still stand and spending on healthcare from ISPs increased by over a third since 2013/14.”

Millions missing out of seven-day GP access

Magic Tees follows up on a BBC investigation which found five million people across England are unable to book an appointment with a GP outside of working hours as figures show that 10 percent of registered patients live in areas where there is no access to GPs in evenings and at weekends. BMA north east regional chair Dr George told the station in order to realise a seven-day service, the resources for a five-day one must be cemented.

GPs should lobby MPs over ‘bombardment’ of GDPR-related patient data requests
According to Pulse, GP leaders are encouraging practices to lead a campaign against the use of data protection laws as solicitors and insurance companies ‘bombard’ practices with requests for patient information. 

Other news

The Daily Telegraph reports patients are resorting to paying privately for operations as figures reveal that since 2013 those waiting more than six months for elective procedures has tripled.

Press Association reports on an innovative pilot in Sandwell which flags people with long-term conditions who are at high risk of hospital admission to a team of 100 staff who make sure they are seen as early as possible. The new system has led to patients in one area avoiding 17,000 nights in hospital and the NHS saving £7 million to be reinvested back into patient care.

In response to NHS GP patient survey, a number of publications including the The Daily Mirror ranks the best and worst GP surgeries across the country.