Government urged to abandon foundation hospitals

The BMA has appealed to the government today to drop the clauses on NHS foundation hospitals from the Health and Social Care Bill which is currently making its way through parliament.

In a letter to John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, the Chairman of the BMA, James Johnson, said that the organisation was "strongly opposed to the creation of NHS foundation trusts".

The letter added: "I am in little doubt that their establishment will prove divisive, exacerbate inequalities in the NHS and encourage competition when there is an overwhelming need for cooperation and collaboration. Foundation trusts pose a real threat to the principles of equity and fairness on which, for good reason, the NHS has always been based.

"In addition, giving more power and a greater democratic element to providers in principle appears to conflict with the aim of shifting power to commissioners and making primary care one of the government's priorities."

Mr Johnson added: "The principle of the health service being accountable to the local population is admirable, but the proposed governance arrangements have not been thought through. Foundation trusts will not even be required to set up the new patient forums."

When the BMA debated this government policy at its annual conference this year, a motion to oppose the creation of NHS foundation trusts was carried overwhelmingly.

The Association is also writing to MPs, in advance of next Wednesday's vote, to alert them to the BMA's position on Part 1 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill.


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