Hackney GPs vow to fight NHS shake-up, warning it could lead to closure of Homerton Hospital

HACKNEY doctors have joined forces to fight drastic NHS cuts, reviving a local medical association that has been inactive for almost 20 years.

The eight GPs and two psychiatrists last week re-established the City and Hackney Division of the British Medical Association (BMA) – a branch which had been closed since 1992.

The move is a direct challenge to the Coalition Government’s proposal to slash �20bn from the health service by 2014/15.

Under the Government’s controversial Health White Paper, GPs would also commission services – a move which Dr Jonathon Tomlinson of the new City and Hackney Division warned could lead to “cherry picking” of the cheapest and easiest service provider and force local hospitals such as Homerton to close.

Dr Tomlinson said the City and Hackney Division decided to re-establish after the BMA “hadn’t represented their views strongly enough.” The division had originally shut two decades ago after a lack of members.

A statement by the City and Hackney Division of the BMA said: “GP practices and hospitals depend on cross-subsidisation - we have the resources to care for our most vulnerable patients, such as the elderly, housebound and long-term sick, because we also have patients who require only occasional, relatively straightforward care.

“A commercial market enforced by a government body called Monitor will force GPs to commission care from the cheapest provider or face legal action. This means we would not be able to refer straightforward cases to our local hospital even if that is what our patients want and what our hospital depends on. So much for patient choice. “Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, has made it clear that hospitals that don’t make money will be not be bailed out. Our local hospital, the Homerton, may be forced to close.”