Doctors prefer Wales to England as BMJ calls for Health Bill to be ditched

As the BMA gathers for its annual conference in Cardiff, a new survey has found that of 5,000 Welsh doctors questioned, 86% said they prefer working in Wales.

As David Cameron has persistently used Prime Minister’s Questions to accuse the Welsh government of being the only administration cutting their health budget, today’s news that doctors prefer working in Wales than England will give him food for thought. As the UK British Medical Association meets this week for its annual conference in Cardiff, new survey data by the BMA in Wales has found that of 5,000 Welsh doctors questioned, 86% said they prefer working in Wales.

As the results were published, Dr Andrew Dearden, chairman of the BMA in Wales, explained:

“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 that 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.”

In a statement reacting to the results, Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths was keen to point out the differences between England and Wales, emphasising the Welsh approach of collaborative working rather than competition. She argued:

“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.”

Its comes as the British Medical Journal has called on the UK Government to ditch is entire health bill as its flaws increasingly become obvious. In an editorial, the Journal concludes:

“In January we judged it too early to let the Health and Social Care Bill out of the lab. Its proposals had no clear rationale, lacked coherence, and looked like costing more than they would save. Since then, the bill’s flaws have become only more obvious.

“Instead of further tinkering, it would be better for the NHS, the government, and the people of England to sweep the bill’s mangled remains into an unmarked grave and move on.”

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