Doctors’ representatives have voted to call for the government’s Health Bill to be withdrawn, in spite of the changes due to be made following a period of review.
The British Medical Committee annual representative meeting in Cardiff voted 59 per cent to 35 per cent in favour of continuing to call for withdrawal.
The BMA chair of council, Hamish Meldrum, had called for the motion to be defeated in light of the government’s concessions.
He said: “Is there any possibility it is going to be withdrawn? I have spoken to Lib Dem MPs and the feeling I get at the moment is they want to work with the [government’s proposed] amendments.
“There is still a lot to do and we can get more [changes]… [But] there is a risk if we push too far we might lose what you have taken [in concessions so far].”
However Paddy Glackin, the London GP who proposed the motion, said: “This is a slippery government which we need to give no wriggle room.”
An linked motion calling for Monitor, the NHS Commissioning Board and consortia to “have a legal duty to act so as to avoid the undermining of existing NHS services” was also passed; as was a motion saying, “competition should not be forced on the NHS by imposing any duties on commissioners to promote choice as a higher priority than tackling fair access and health inequalities”.
A subsequent motion which called for “the BMA to oppose the health and social care bill in its entirety” was defeated.
Dr Meldrum is due to give evidence to the Commons Bill Committee scrutinising the legislation this afternoon.