Seven out of 10 people are not aware of Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS, according to a public opinion poll1 commissioned by the BMA.
In a survey of 1,000 people, carried out this year in May and June, 72% of respondents said that they were unaware of the current review of the NHS which is being undertaken by health minister, Lord Darzi.
Ahead of the publication of Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS in England, expected next week, the BMA says that in many areas there has been insufficient consultation with the public or staff on changes to local NHS services. It is aware of cases where doctors have been blocked from feeding into local reviews.
Feedback from a series of regional BMA meetings, attended by around 300 doctors, indicates that although many doctors support the visions produced by their strategic health authorities (SHA), many are not convinced that the proposals are deliverable and believe that, in reality, clinicians will not be allowed to lead change locally, despite assurances from the government that change should be clinically-led.
Many local doctors reported a lack of evidence for procuring GP-led health centres, or polyclinics in their areas, and were concerned about the subsequent waste of resources when there appeared to be little or no demand for such services. Sixty-nine GPs from Newcastle and Tyneside have protested that they were sidelined from the local bidding process to tender for new GP-led health centres.
BMA representatives from Yorkshire were excluded from the SHA review process despite the BMA nominating a number of doctors who were keen to participate.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of BMA Council (pictured), says: “NHS reforms should not be left to the whim of managers, or imposed in a blanket way by primary care trusts. While there needs to be clarity at a national level about what the NHS will provide, how that is delivered should be determined locally. Patients and staff need to be given the opportunity to help implement changes that make sense, but also to object to changes they don’t want. At the moment, there’s still too much direction from the centre, and not enough local democracy.”