The BMA campaign Look After Our NHS is a highly distorted portrayal of the health service.
The first distortion of the campaign is for the BMA to portray itself as representing the interests of patients. That is not its purpose. It is an excessively powerful trade union which exists to further the interests of its members. It is a union which has exploited its power to obstruct improvement. At its worst the BMA can make Arthur Scargill sound like a passionate advocate for flexible working.
The slogan accompanying the campaign is “Publicly funded, publicly provided”. This is not what the BMA actually wants. The vast majority of the GPs which the BMA represents are self-employed. The union’s GPs’ committee could comfortably become part of the Federation of Small Businesses.
Primary care trusts should have much more power to terminate the contracts of the GP businesses which provide an inadequate service to patients. In the absence of such freedom, competition from services in modern premises run by doctors who have grasped the basics of 21st century communication tools such as websites and who open at times to suit working people are vital to shake the poorer GP services out of their complacency.
The campaign’s website features a somewhat childish drawing of a doctor holding up a placard saying “Stop big business profiting from our NHS!”. Presumably this doctor is not a consultant who sells his services to private patients.