Skip to main content

NHS commissioning competition regulations should be withdrawn and replaced, says BMA

Doctors leaders have today (Thursday, 18 April) called for controversial competition rules to be withdrawn and replaced ahead of a crucial House of Lords debate next week.

In a new briefing paper sent to peers ahead of the debate, the BMA calls for the withdrawal of the regulations that detail how aspects of patient choice and competition operate under the Health and Social Care Act in England.

They should be replaced with new regulations that unambiguously reflect previous Government assurances that commissioners will not be forced to use competition when making their commissioning decisions. The BMA is pressing for this principle to be explicitly stated in the regulations.

The BMA has long argued that mandatory competition for all services risks fragmentation of services and creates unnecessary transaction costs, making it harder for the NHS in England to deliver high quality, cost-effective and integrated care to patients.

Regulations, which were first laid before Parliament in February 2013, set out how competition and patient choice would work under the Health and Social Care Act. They were intended to ensure good procurement practice, but have continued to prompt widespread concern and uncertainty about the apparent requirement for competitive tendering for most health services.

Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council, said:

“The absence of expected guidance on how the competition regulations would operate in practice, and the lack of satisfactory guarantees in these regulations, has created great uncertainty and anxiety for clinicians and patients.

“Only explicit wording in the regulations would allow patients, doctors and commissioners to be absolutely certain that clinicians will have the freedom to act in the way they consider to be in the best interests of patients.”

Dr Laurence Buckman Chair of the BMA’s GP Committee said:

“GP commissioners now have responsibility for making critical decisions about how best to provide services to patients in their locality.

“Commissioners could be put in the position of facing costly tendering processes and possible legal challenges from unsuccessful bidders because of ambiguous rules. That is why GPs want the regulations withdrawn.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement

A weaver's tail - the harvest mouse

Living in the grass is a tiny mouse: the tiny harvest mouse, with a wonderful scientific name that sounds like the title of a Charles Dickens Novel,  Micromys minutus.   It is the only British mammal with a prehensile tail. It uses its tail to hold on to the slender grass stems, at the tops of which it builds a nest. Photo: Nick Fewing These tiny mammals (just around 5 cm long) build a spherical nest of tightly woven grass at the top of tall grasses, in which the female will give birth to about six young.  In the fields, we see cows and horses brushing away flies with their tails; often they will stand side-by-side and end-to-end, and help each other.  Two tails are better than one!  In nature, tails are put to good use.  Just as a tight-rope walker uses his pole for balance, so for some species, a tail provides balance. When running, a squirrel uses its tail as a counterbalance to help the squirrel steer and turn quickly, and the tail is used aerodynamically in flight.  But many anima