Doctors’ group to fight NHS break-up


A group of NHS consultants are calling on their medical colleagues to fight the ‘disastrous trend’ of constant NHS re-organisation and privatisation by joining them in a new association, Doctors for the NHS (DFNHS) – which will actively campaign against the growing trend to ‘marketise’ NHS services .

DFNHS, whose founding members belong to the NHS Consultants’ Association [2], is being formed with the explicit aim of countering marketisation of the NHS by gathering the already impressive evidence [3,4] pointing to its ill effects on NHS services and founding principles; persuading their colleagues to join the group; and campaigning widely to stop then repair the damage before it is too late and cannot be reversed.

DFNHS members are adamant that this is both timely and essential in the face of the threat to the NHS.  They are announcing their intentions and the foundation of the group at a launch event at Portcullis House, next to the Houses of Parliament, next Monday 2 March (1400-1530). Speakers include Clare Gerarda, past president of the RCGP; Dr Wendy Savage, Chair of NHS campaigning group Keep Our NHS Public; and Professor Allyson Pollock, one of the authors of the NHS Reinstatement Bill shortly to be tabled before Parliament [5], which DFNHS supports.

DFNHS Co- Chair Eric Watts is a retired hospital consultant haematologist, with 2 years of experience of general practice before specialising.

‘We are calling on our colleagues to join us because we are increasingly alarmed at the way private provision and subsequent breaking up of the NHS is threatening the whole service. We know markets do not provide universal health coverage as well as a planned service [6]. The NHS has survived because the alternatives would be more expensive and less efficient [7,8].

‘We are committed to continuous improvement of the service and believe that the greatest problem now is the ill-informed criticism that the NHS cannot survive. We deplore the ill treatment and sometimes persecution of doctors who air their concerns about clinical services.

‘Increasing private provision is a threat because experience shows that private providers cannot handle the range and scope of demands as well as the NHS. We now have many examples that for private companies to take on health business they need to cherry pick – ie take on the profitable areas , leaving the NHS the more complex cases. Contracts with the private sector must be viewed as outsourcing; this means a loss of control, and bringing them back into the NHS will improve the coordination and cooperation that are the key strengths of the NHS.

‘Over the years, repeated re-organisations have taken us further and further from a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS. And now all sections of our healthcare system are under unparalleled pressure. It is now essential to bring together all like-minded members of our profession into one organisation to combat this disastrous trend before it is too late. This is why we are now forming DFNHS: we are inviting our colleagues in primary care and doctors in training to join us.’

Editor’s Notes

Venue details for launch event: The Grimond Room Portcullis House Bridge Street London SW1A 2LW

Monday 2 March 2015 1400-1530

DFNHS speakers available for comment and for interview after the event.


  • Rt Hon Frank Dobson MP
  • Dr Eric Watts – Co-Chair, DFNHS
  • Dr Peter Fisher – President, DFNHS
  • Dr Wendy Savage – Chair, Keep Our NHS Public
  • Professor Allyson Pollock – Professor of public health research and policy, Queen Mary University, London
  • Dr Peter Trewby – former Acute Physician


Doctors for the NHS (DFNHS)

DFNHS’s press officer is Alan Taman: 07870 757 309