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BMA calls for independent sector providers to contribute to education or training of the workforce

19 April 2016

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The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling for independent sector providers to contribute to education or training of the workforce.

The recommendation comes in the doctors’ union’s report into privatisation.

The BMA said that providers and commissioners are facing “unprecedented financial pressures” as spending needs to be rigorously evaluated.

It said that £7 million is spent annually on independent sector provision of NHS services and “more attention needs to be paid as to whether it provides value for money, comparable quality and safety to NHS patients, as well as what its impact is on other NHS services.”

It said the money spent on independent provision is increasing year on year, amounting to 6.3% of the budget in 2014-15.

It surveyed its members who said they were concerned about the education and training of doctors, nurses and other clinicians at independent providers.

The report said: “An increased reliance on the independent sector by the NHS will mean greater numbers of staff working in these environments are not receiving the training opportunities that they would have done otherwise.”

It stated that doctors said they were concerned that staff at independent providers “work in isolation from other colleagues and in other parts of the health system.”

The BMA also wants the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to develop “a more standardised approach to regulating independent sector providers in line with NHS providers.” This should include the same requirements for transparent reporting of patient safety incidents and performance.

The BMA wants NHS England to collect data on independent sector provision in each sector, such as community services or mental health services.

CCGs should carry out full risk assessments to determine what would happen if NHS staff chose not to transfer to an independent sector provider.

It cited an example in dermatology where three out of 11 consultants transferred to the new provider.