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BMA says 'Doctors in Wales remain loyal to principles of the NHS' ENGLAND OPTS FOR MARKET FORCES THAT WALES REJECTS.

Byline: MADELEINE BRINDLEY

DOCTORS in Wales say today they are "happy" to be working in Wales rather than across the border because of proposed changes to the NHS in England.

In a survey of more than 5,000 doctors in Wales, 86% told the British Medical Association Cymru they are "glad" to be working here.

And in an endorsement of the radical reforms to the health service in Wales two years ago, eight out of 10 doctors said successive Welsh governments have been right to seek to remove the internal market and competition from the NHS.

The Welsh Government has reaffirmed its commitment to uphold Aneurin Bevan's founding principles for the NHS and maintain a health service free from market forces.

This is in stark contrast to the NHS in England and the proposals put forward by the UK coalition government.

Although the original plans have been amended, following considerable opposition and pressure, private companies look set to play a greater role in the English NHS.

Dr Andrew Dearden, chairman of the BMA's Welsh Council, said: "The results of this survey speak loud and clear. Doctors in Wales remain loyal to the principles set out for the NHS by Aneurin Bevan.

"Consecutive Welsh governments have diminished the role of the private sector from the NHS, and the purchaser-provider split no longer operates.

"This was the right decision for doctors, and the right decision for patients, meeting the needs of everyone and free at the point of delivery.

"We really believe Wales has it all. Doctors can work in attractive surroundings offering excellent facilities and professional support, with the added benefits of a quality lifestyle - reasonably priced housing, good schools and access to beautiful countryside.

"Wales is a clear winner when it comes to aligning career development with work-life balance."

The comments from Welsh doctors come at the start of the BMA's annual representatives' meeting in Cardiff today, and as the editors of the British Medical Journal have called for the remnants of the Conservative-LibDem Government's Health and Social Care Bill to be scrapped.

In an editorial published today on BMJ.com, Dr Tony Delamothe and Dr Fiona Godlee, say: "It would be better for the NHS, the government, and the people of England to sweep [the amended Health and Social Care Bill's] mangled remains into an unmarked grave and move on."

The pair added they are concerned the Future Forum recommendations, which the UK Government has accepted following widespread opposition to its original proposals, will add further layers of bureaucracy to the health service.

And they said they will leave "the NHS with a similar proportion of bureaucrats to the Austro-Hungarian empire on the eve of the First World War - and about as flat footed."

Wales' Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said: "I'm delighted that our approach to providing healthcare is backed by the BMA and frontline doctors.

"Our vision for the NHS in Wales is very different to that being pursued by the Government in England. "Indeed, our approach is true to the principles of Aneurin Bevan - a health service that is free at the point of need.

"In particular, unlike the NHS in England, we favour an integrated system which focuses on collaboration and cooperation to drive up standards, rather than a marketplace driven by competition.

"As Wales' Health Minister, I am committed to working tirelessly to build on the progress that has already been made to ensure that the health service in Wales can compare with the best in the world."

> HEALTH WALES PAGES 22-26

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* Doctors canvassed on the situation here say Wales is right to focus on the 'free at the point of need' mantra
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Jun 27, 2011
Words:610
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