BMA opposition to the NHS 1948


Chairman: Dr. H. D. BARNER

Hon. Secretary: Dr. E. ANTHONY, Little Gaynes, Upminster, Essex

Tel.: Upminster 605

January 31st, 1948.

Dear Doctor,

I am now able to give you a summary of the various study groups held in the Division.

The overall picture is one of overwhelming opposition to the Act in its present form, a significant fact is the opposition to the Act expressed by the full-time Hospital Staffs and Public Health Officers.

I have personally attended several groups and was most impressed by the reasoned opposition of the full-time men. They know, if anyone does, the effects of control in one way or another and they are certain it will get worse if the Act as it stands is allowed to operate.

In this Division the figure appears to be at least 95% against the Act

One or two doctors have expressed their intention of joining the service as it stands, their view is that they are so busy now, they can be sure of having a full list and the alleged income of £3,900. To those who think like that I would say please think again and consider these points :

(1) Full lists mean an under-doctored area. Many ex-service men are qualifying and they will be soon be “allowed” to practice in under-doctored areas.

(2)The average panel list to-day is 1,000 with half the nation insured. Double the insured patients and the average list will be 2,000 and not 4,000.

(3) No man could work a full list under the Act without employing help or sharing.

(4) The Minister has not applied the Spens Report as to salaries recommended for doctors and has even been taken to task by his extreme left Wing supporters for being too generous with doctors’ incomes. He has now threatened to lower the incomes if he cannot get his own way in July. It looks awfully like a “carrot for D Day.”

(5) Already the service medical officers in the R.A.F., Army and Navy are looking at the incomes offered with envy. It will not be long before they and the Civil Servants want salary increases and when the clamour becomes loud enough the Treasury will still the clamour by cutting the incomes on grounds of “national economy.” The Act provides for the Treasury to have the last word over finances.

(6) No promises the Minister may make in the Press are worth a “Tinker’s Cuss” unless the Act itself is amended by Parliament.

(7) The Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords openly stated that only by paying the doctors by salary could the Government hope to “control” medical certification.

(8) The Minister however has denied that this Act is to nationalise doctors but yet he is committed politically to such an intention. Someone is pulling wool over someone’s eyes! !

(9) Do you honestly think the patients will be better off when the doctor has to take care of not offending “higher authority”? Will you dare stand up for your patients if their interests conflict with the Minister’s regulations?

(10) And even if in the last resort the Health Acts as it stands suits you in its present form (and God knows you must be easily satisfied) have you the right to sell your heritage and spoil the efforts of the majority of your fellow doctors who are fighting for your freedom as well as theirs?

(11) We ask you to consider the majority point of view and oppose this Act until it is amended. A satisfactory service can be worked out to suit the doctors and the patients, a service which we could join willingly and cheerfully. That would then be a proper service and one which we could be proud to operate.

Yours sincerely,


At the top is written in script: “I think your association might like to see this disgusting document”