By New Worker correspondent
DEMONSTRATORS protesting against proposed NHS cuts stood outside the headquarters of the British Medical Association (BMA) in central London last week while doctors debated and eventually voted overwhelmingly to oppose the Government’s plans.
An overwhelming majority from the BMA’s London regional council backed a motion calling on the BMA to dump its policy of “critical engagement” with the Con-Dem coalition and move to stop the health and social care bill in its tracks.
The debate was opened by BMA council chair Hamish Meldrum who stressed the importance of “separating some of the rhetoric from the reality” surrounding the Health and Social Care Bill.
Dr Meldrum highlighted the BMA’s opposition to the Government’s “reforms”, which were defended by Tory health minister Simon Burns and opposed by his Labour Shadow minister Diane Abbott.
Some doctors openly jeered Burns during his speech. When he finished the Tory minister had to face a string of questions from doctors demanding to know why the Government had not tested its plans and also why many of the key elements of the health bill were not included in the coalition’s manifesto.
The call for all-out opposition the NHS cuts is being debated in all the BMA’s divisions across the country and this will be the central issue on the agenda at a special representative meeting in March to agree on future national policy.