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‘Critical Engagement’

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Doctors are not going to go on strike in protest against the health bill. At the BMA special representative meeting in London on Tuesday, 54 per cent voted against a motion to reject the health bill ‘in its entirety’ in favour of continuing the current policy of ‘critical engagement’ with the government. A vote of no confidence in the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, also failed to pass. It seems that doctors are pinning their hopes to a Lib Dem rebellion that could force Lansley to make significant changes to the bill. In particular, they hope that he will be forced to scrap the ‘any willing provider’ provisions that would allow private companies to compete with NHS doctors for NHS contracts, and which many doctors fear would lead to outright privatisation of the NHS within a very short time.

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