Welsh doctors have today renewed calls on all political parties to keep the NHS Wales a public service.
British Medical Association (BMA) Cymru Wales' call follows news today (Thursday 5 April 2007) that some 900 patients in England who were referred to a private healthcare company for tests to help cut NHS waiting lists, have been recalled.
BMA Welsh Secretary, Dr Richard Lewis, said: "BMA Cymru Wales is fully committed to working with all political parties and the next Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that Welsh patients get the service they deserve: a service fit for purpose and a service fit for the 21st century.
"We believe passionately in the NHS and its founding principles – a comprehensive national service, free at the point of delivery, funded through general taxation and based on people's needs. This means keeping the NHS public and resisting the attempt to use the private sector as a temporary fix.
"Post devolution, NHS Wales has seen little, if any, significant input from the private sector. This is in sharp contrast to England, which appears to be experiencing a fundamental shift towards the privatisation of services.
"BMA Cymru Wales is also opposed to the use of private finance initiatives (PFI) in the NHS. PFI is fundamental to the NHS in England and we believe this is contributing to increasing deficits. There should be no increase in input from the private sector in the delivery of NHS services in Wales.
"The Welsh Assembly Government has, so far, rejected this model of providing services through increased competition – a move which BMA Cymru Wales fully supports.
"We urge all political parties to keep their pledge to keep the NHS in Wales public."