The NHS provides better value for money than any comparable system in the world, according to an "election manifesto" issued by the British medical Association (BMA).
It has urged politicians from all parties not to take a "slash and burn" approach to cutting costs, and to invest in the health service at a time when demand for services is increasing.
The manifesto – Standing up for Doctors, Standing up for Health – advocates less spending on independent-sector treatment centres and private-finance initiatives to build hospitals.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA (pictured), said: "When the drivers are profits, it has to be asked whether patients' interests are really being served, and value for money being achieved.
"Creating a market means high transactional costs and bureaucracy, with money that could be spent on patient care going to private companies and shareholders.
"A slash and burn response to the need for savings would be dangerous and short-sighted, risking long-term damage to the infrastructure of the health service.
"It would be a disastrous error to resort to measures such as cutting clinical staff at a time when demand for healthcare is increasing."