So began the week of blanket coverage of the British Medical Association’s annual whinge-fest conference

‘LUDICROUS’, bellowed the Daily Mail last Saturday at the news that two (count ‘em) doctors might be made redundant from Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals trust.

And so began the week of blanket coverage of the British Medical Association’s annual whinge-fest conference.

Doctors have been claiming the NHS is on the brink of total devastation every year since 1948, but it always makes the news.

Several newspapers covered BMA chair James Johnson’s slamming of the Radcliffe’s proposal to reduce the number of gastro-intestinal specialists as ‘absurd’.

Most felt it was irrelevant to mention the trust’s claim that the proposals had been made because demand for such skills had dropped.

Mr Johnson said it was ‘bizarre’ to make clinicians redundant when the NHS is under-doctored compared by European standards. Or might it be ‘bizarre’ that a man so concerned with waste and inefficiency should balk at measures apparently taken to match supply and demand.

Sadly, there did not seem to be any time to explore this angle in news bulletins.

However, the gauntlet was finally taken up this week by none other than the prime minister’s former special adviser on health Professor Julian Le Grand.

After listing numerous surveys and facts to counter this week’s BMA claim that patients do not want choice, Professor Le Grand writes in The Independent: ‘Nobody likes being subject to competition ? especially when … it threatens not only their traditional way of doing things, but also a highly lucrative private practice.’ Ouch.