Malcolm Alexander, noted health activist and I sent the letter below to the London Evening Standard last night concerning the government's White Paper on the future of the NHS and the reaction of the BMA to this last week. Over the weekend UNISON and the Royal College of Nursing have also given their responses. I was present at the Board meeting of the London Ambulance Service last week where the response of the LAS was mentioned but so far I have not actually seen it but am putting in a formal response for the Forum to see what the LAS has sent to the consultation.
It is shameful that the British Medical Association (BMA) long regarded as a champion of the NHS has decided to cooperate with government plans to radically transform the NHS from a publicly run to a privately run health service. The BMA's catastrophic abandonment may serve the interests of doctors, but does nothing for patients, the funders of the whole NHS system.
Most GP practices are small businesses contracted by Primary Care Trusts to provide primary healthcare to the whole population. The government's White Papers on health proposes that most of the NHS budget (our money) is handed over to these businesses to spend on our behalf. This money will pay for nearly all NHS services and this method of funding is likely to cause chaos for many years, especially for pan-London services like the London Ambulance Service.
When the BMA say they oppose privatisation, they mean they oppose the takeover of small GP businesses by multinational healthcare companies. This is a battle of business models, in which the public will have no discernable voice.
Malcolm Alexander (London Ambulance Service Patients Forum Vice Chair)