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Thursday 27th October 2016

The NHS competition

8th July 2008

The chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr Hamish Meldrum, has said the NHS in England was being managed like a "shoddy supermarket war".


He encouraged the health service to pay attention to Scotland, where the government has avoided using the private sector.

At the BMA's annual conference doctors gave their vote to the health service in England only using private firms "as a last resort".

The government has attempted to open up the health service's market by asking hospitals to vie for patients.

Private firms now carry out approximately one in 10 elective operations. This has led to a reduction in waiting times. Hospitals in England are due to reach the 18-week waiting target by the end of 2008. The Scottish deadline is 2011.

Dr Meldrum said: "I'm not saying everything is perfect north of the border, but at least there seems to be some shared agenda. Not a service run like a shoddy supermarket war."

He added that if it could be accomplished in Edinburgh, it could be achieved in England.

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: "I no longer recognise the NHS in England as the NHS as it was initially intended, where competition and privatisation drive service delivery, not the collaboration and partnership approach taken here in Scotland."

A BMA poll of 1,000 doctors revealed that 50% of respondents were against the use of the private sector.


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