Cuts Will Have Knock-On Effect, Says BMA

A Spokesman for The British Medical Association (BMA) has responded to the Spending Review announced yesterday by Chancellor George Osbourne.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, British Medical Association Chairman of Council, said:

 “The BMA is pleased that the government has kept its pledge to protect health spending, in real terms, over the course of this parliament. We also welcome the news that spending on NHS research will grow over the course of the spending review.

“Although the NHS budget has been relatively protected, the health service has to find cost savings of £20 billion by 2014 and this is already resulting in cuts to services, staff and rationing of treatments. The NHS continues to face the demands of an ageing population and the rising costs of medicines and new technology. 

He continued: “Cuts in spending in other areas, such as welfare benefits, will also have a knock-on effect on demands on the NHS. Vulnerable groups often have complex health needs and it is essential that help remains available to them.

Dr Meldrum added: “The Chancellor’s remarks about productivity are worrying. Doctors and nurses work extremely hard to care for their patients and will continue to do so despite the challenging times ahead. In the last decade the ‘productivity’ of healthcare staff has contributed to reduced waiting times and improvements in the quality of patient care. If the government is truly committed to reducing waste and inefficiency, their proposals for NHS reform should focus less on competition and more on a cooperative approach on delivering healthcare.”


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