Responding to a new report by Professor Sir Ara Darzi, published today (Tuesday 17 April 2007) by the Department of Health (Saws and Scapels to Lasers and Robots – Advances in Surgery), Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) consultants' committee, said:
"Advances in surgery, and other specialities such as anaesthesia, mean that patients can be treated more effectively, mobilised more quickly and discharged home earlier. The profession and NHS managers must work in partnership to deliver cutting-edge care to as many patients as we can.
"Delivering care closer to patients' homes, safely, will require an investment in many of our existing district general hospitals, not the fragmentation and risk of closure some are currently facing.
"This is an opportunity for doctors, managers and patients to work collaboratively across primary and secondary care to maintain and improve hospital services, whilst developing new ways of caring for patients."