On 17 February, at a London meeting of the British Medical Association, around 250 members voted to end the policy of “critical engagement” with the government and move to a position of outright opposition.
The meeting also called for a poll of members on industrial action to stop the bill.
Doctors have traditionally been deeply conservative. In 1948 the BMA opposed the formation of the NHS, and in the 1950s they threatened to destroy the NHS with action over pay.
Doctors appear left-wing at the moment because the centre of gravity in mainstream politics has shifted so far to the neo-liberal right. These are educated people who have taken the time to read the documents and guidelines published by the government. Unfortunately, most working-class people (including NHS workers) have no idea about the tsunami of reform about to hit the health service.
Unison, the main health workers’ union, should follow the doctors’ lead and prepare for action.