Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA's Consultants Committee, has accused the government of wasting money on independent schemes, saying that the idea such schemes can help the NHS is a "fallacy".
Commenting on the government's announcement that several NHS private sector schemes in England will not go ahead, Dr Fielden says: "It's a crying shame that so much money has been wasted on this political initiative when the NHS could have achieved better value for money.
"The idea that independent sector schemes have been instrumental in helping the NHS is a fallacy. The vast majority of waiting time cuts and innovations in service have been made by NHS trusts – by hard-working and dedicated NHS doctors and other staff.
"This turnaround from government is welcome. It matches our calls for common sense on private provision in the NHS. The independent sector should only be used where the NHS cannot provide services or needs a short-term increase in capacity.
"Private sector schemes should not go ahead if collaboration and co-ordination with the NHS cannot be guaranteed. Local commissioning should help ensure that this is better matched to real need, rather than political expediency.
"There should be an open admission of how much money has been wasted on this political diversion from the creation of a truly excellent NHS."