Doctors have branded the government's current structural NHS changes in preparation for its reforms as ‘chaotic and poorly co-ordinated'.
The British Medical Association (BMA) accused the government of moving too fast resulting in assumptions being taken on the final wording of policies and of increasing rather than decreasing bureaucracy.
In another bid to raise awareness of the potential pitfalls of the Health and Social Care Bill, the Association issued a briefing paper for peers debating the Bill.
Following threats of rebellion by members the BMA Council voted to harden its opposition to the plans in what it called ‘the context of the wider NHS reform agenda'.
The BMA's main concerns with the current approach include:
• although the legislation has not yet been agreed, changes are already taking place both nationally and locally and assumptions have to be made about the final architecture - the end result has been chaos on the ground,
• the stated aim of reducing bureaucracy now looks meaningless as new bodies and structures are being created, all with complex interrelationships,
• much greater thought needs to be given to how the knock-on effects from the structural changes in the Bill will impact on other strands in the government's wider NHS reform plans,
• the government has said it wants to empower clinicians to commission on behalf of patients, however many of the powers of the NHS Commissioning Board set out in the Bill seem overly restrictive.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA Council, said: "There has been a growing level of unease about how the reforms are panning out - we hear repeated concerns from doctors about mounting chaos on the ground.
"We want the Government to rethink its reform package and withdraw the Bill.
"It should be focusing on delivering high-quality, coordinated and integrated health care, not side-tracking staff with major structural reform.
"Continuing with this legislation, especially in a period of huge financial constraint, is an enormous risk," he added.