28/06/2012 11:26 BST | Updated 28/08/2012 10:12 BST

British Medical Association Calls For Andrew Lansley To Resign

Doctors have called for Andrew Lansley to resign, saying they have "no confidence" in the Health Secretary.

Medics went head to head with Lansley last week over the Government's controversial pension reforms.

They took industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years to voice their anger at the proposals.

The BMA accused Mr Lansley of "breaching doctors' trust" by tearing up the pension deal which was only agreed four years ago.

On Thursday, delegates at the British Medical Association's (BMA) annual conference in Bournemouth agreed on a motion calling for Mr Lansley's resignation.

Delegates at the conference voted on the motion "This meeting has no confidence in Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, and calls for him to resign".

The motion won by a slight majority, with 158 delegates voting in favour and 124 against.

Dr Gary Marlowe, who presented the motion, told the conference: "I do not trust this man."

Dr Marlowe accused Lansley misleading doctors and the public during the election over his plans for the Health and Social Care Act, which became law in March after a tortuous passage through Parliament.

He said: "I understand that Mr Lansley is quite a nice man and can on occasion be quite charming.

"If only this was enough to be Health Secretary overseeing the biggest reorganisation of the NHS since its inception.

"During the election, there was no mention of a specific direction and/or any detail of the NHS reforms.

"By all accounts Mr Lansley has a long and detailed knowledge of the NHS and has been working on his plans throughout opposition.

"It is clear that during the election he mislead the public and the profession."

He continued: "The White Paper was published, it was a broad-stoke, essentially marketisation-focused approach. The detail and the consequences of the various parts of the Bill were completely absent.

"Either he knowingly did this or it was an incompetent, ill-thought-through White Paper.

"The Bill went through a stunning number of amendments and revisions. I believe the most of any Bill.

"How can we trust someone with such a poor record with our NHS?"

Dr Marlowe continued: "We as a profession took a responsible approach to future pension burden in 2008.

"Even so, we are still willing to negotiate. But he is not in the mood for listening. How can we trust this man?

"It is clear that we have a Health Secretary who is ideologically-bound, thinks he knows best, is disingenuous and sticks his fingers in his ears 'la la la la'.

"I know there will be the argument that we should not call for someone to resign with whom we might have to negotiate tomorrow but he doesn't listen anyway so that is no argument.

"As every doctor knows, trust lies at the heart of everything we do. We expect a similar degree of trust with the Health Secretary. I do not trust this man."

Dr Peter Holden said: "I should declare an interest, I am a card-carrying Tory. Resignation is too good for Lansley - Cameron should sack him."

However, the BMA's outgoing chair of council Dr Hamish Meldrum urged doctors not to pass the motion, citing that tension in future negotiations over pension reforms.

He added that it was about policies, not personality.

Also speaking against the motion, Dr Glynn Evans said: "As an individual I would value his resignation but I am not here as an individual. We are here as a representative body and this motion would tie the hands of our next chairman of council.

"Imagine our ongoing negotiations: 'Dear Secretary of State, officially I have no trust in you, officially I want you to resign, but can I put that aside and negotiate with you?' It's not going to work."

In response to the "crushing" vote Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “This vote is a crushing personal defeat for a Health Secretary who promised to listen to doctors, and centred his whole policy on them.

“David Cameron and Andrew Lansley inherited a stable NHS and in just two years they have reduced it to a demoralised service, fearful of the future – ‘a super tanker heading for an iceberg’ in the words of Mike Farrar, head of the NHS Confederation.

“The NHS is at a critical moment. It needs leadership, stability and confidence - but the David Cameron and his Health Secretary are offering none of these things to a beleaguered NHS.

“The NHS is only as good as the people who work in it. The Prime Minister urgently needs to change direction - he should also ask himself whether it is wise to leave in position, at this critical moment, someone who has so obviously lost the confidence of the professions.”

In April 2011 the Royal College of Nursing also delivered a no confidence vote in Lansley.