Dr David Wrigley has been elected BMA deputy chairman; and it is notable that the incumbent is a staunch critic of NHS privatisation who has made strong criticisms of government policy.
The GPC member takes over the role from retired Manchester GP Dr Kailash Chand.
Wrigley has gone as far as accusing the government of starving the health service of funding, and causing the existing crisis in the NHS.
Indeed, speaking at LMCs annual conference in May, Wrigley had spoken very strongly on Government policy and the existing financial situation of the NHS.
“Our politicians are starving the NHS of funds and destroying it. Direct your anger to the politicians. The BMA should be shouting from the rooftops about this.”
The Lancashire GP indicated his delight to have been elected to the role by the BMA council, describing it as an honour.
Wrigley is also chairman of the Doctors in Unite / Medical Practitioners Union.
It is notable that this prominent individual in the British healthcare system had been re-elected to the council of this organisation having campaigned strongly against the health reforms put in place by the existing Conservative government.
Additionally, Ridley has even been critical of the failures of the British Medical Association to prevent what he perceives to be the slashing of funding for the health service.
Commenting on his appointment, Wrigley indicated that he would place a particular emphasis on uniting the profession, and discuss the relationship between the British Medical Association and the NHS.
“The NHS and the profession are under great strain with funding cuts. It is very important that the BMA protects and defends the NHS.”
Wrigley also indicated that he would strongly support junior doctors in the ongoing contract dispute with government, and was explicitly critical of the conduct of the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in this matter.
“It is quite clear that the contract isn’t acceptable for the majority of juniors, and Jeremy Hunt needs to hear that.”
The incoming deputy chairman also believes that the BMA council should do more to support the General Practitioners Committee.
Wrigley identified the current time as being a critical one for general practice, and suggested that the council of the British Medical Association must show more solidarity with general practitioners in this challenging climate.
The new deputy chairman has co-authored two books about the NHS, namely “NHS for Sale” and “NHS SOS”, with BMA council colleage Dr Jacky Davis and others.
The number of managers employed by the NHS has risen by in excess of 6% in the last 12 months, according to new figures.
NHS workforce figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that between 2014 and 2015 the number of managers increased by 6.5% to 20,300.
And it is notable that this is a significantly higher rate than the increase in the overall health service workforce, which Expanded at a rate of less than 2%.
The number of senior managers increased by 5.3% to 9,260.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of council at the British Medical Association, suggested that the way that the increase in workforce has been distributed can be considered somewhat inappropriate and puzzling.
“Many NHS managers do a good job for the NHS in difficult circumstances, but it is surprising that when many areas of the NHS are suffering from unfilled posts and staff shortages, the number of managers is beginning to increase again. These figures show little evidence of the huge expansion in the workforce that is needed to deliver the Government’s current uncosted and vague plan to increase the NHS’s capacity.”
And Porter also believes that the lack of investment in rank-and-file staffing will have a massive impact on the ability of the NHS to deliver cultural change and an adequate service to patients.
“The reported rise in staffing levels of barely 2% is insignificant given what the NHS needs when it is facing rapidly increasing patient demand, especially from an ageing population with complex health needs that requires expanding support in the community and in hospitals.”
Porter pointed out that numerous authoritative organisations have previously indicated that their levels of staffing are inadequate, and that this is ultimately impacting on the end customer of the NHS.
“Many bodies, including the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives, have reported under staffing in their specialities that is already having a damaging impact on patient care. These figures show little evidence of the huge expansion in the workforce that is needed to deliver the Government’s current uncosted and vague plan to increase the NHS’s capacity through its so-called seven-day service proposal.”
Responding to the figures, a spokeswoman from the Department of Health suggested that the taxpayer was in fact receiving value for money, and that there is a coherent staffing strategy in place in the health service.
“There are 5,000 fewer managers in the NHS since 2010, saving the taxpayer £300 million. At the same time, there are 10,600 more nurses on our wards, 50,000 nurses currently in training and our changes to student funding will create up to 10,000 more training places by the end of this parliament.”