‘Doctors must lead’

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The chairman of the British Medical Association has called on doctors to take a lead in shaping the future of the NHS as the service copes with continuing financial pressures and other issues.

In his New Year’s message to doctors, Dr Mark Porter says NHS efficiency savings are failing to keep pace with increased costs and that despite claims this will result in a need to cut services to patients, there are a lack of sustainable solutions to the problem.

Dr Porter says doctors and other NHS staff must play a part in leading and shaping change.

But in order to do this Dr Porter says those on the ground, the clinicians and the managers, must form a new relationship. He says that doctors feel managers are there to enforce targets, find savings and many regard doctors as irritants in that process - but both must be willing to step out of their traditional roles and “recognise that the financial constraints within which the NHS works are not just an issue for managers and that good patient outcomes are so much more than a clinical issue.”