Rationing is ‘appallingly unethical’, says BMA

 BMA representative Dr Laurence Buckman has voiced his opposition to the rationing of NHS services.

Dr Buckman, Chairman of the Association’s General Practitioners Committee, has written to the General Medical Council (GMC) proposing that quality premium payments and the rationing of care be stopped.

In the letter Dr Buckman said the BMA “think this is appallingly unethical”.

The BMA chair asked the GMC to investigate these “incentive schemes” after CCGs and PCTs had ignored warnings by the Association to end the practices.

“Taking money from patient care and pocketing it for reducing something you do for patients by a fixed percentage or number is wrong,” he said in the letter. “We have said that repeatedly. We don’t think it is a good idea to tell doctors that if you reduce your referrals by 10% you will receive a payment.

“Although you might be mindful of expenses, you should not be chopping an arbitrary piece of patient service and then taking money which you are allowed to keep. There are lots of reasons why that is bad including the fact that patients will not trust you because they will think that everything you do will be dependent on making a profit out of it, from them.”

Dr Buckman’s letter follows a survey by Pulse Magazine which revealed that doctors believed the rationing of minor treatment services was affecting their relationship with patients.