The British health service faces a dire funding crisis, leaving it to rely on private insurance and other aid to maintain its operating and capital spending levels.
The BMA has warned that without the cash available to keep its staff, patients and hospitals running, the BMA could be forced to consider “potentially disastrous” options, including selling off assets and laying off staff.
The government’s budget watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, said that the BCA has “significant financial difficulties” and warned that it will have to make “extraordinary” decisions in the coming weeks.
The OBR has said it expects the health service to miss its funding targets in the second half of the year, and the BMC said it is preparing to report on the health services’ finances on June 29.
The warning came as health service bosses warned that a financial collapse is “likely” if the government does not deliver its promised financial boost for the NHS.
In a letter to the chancellor, the British Medical Association said the health sector will need to rely “extraordinarily” on private funding to remain competitive in the future.
In recent months, the government has pledged to provide £2.5bn in funding for the BME sector, but its plan is being scrutinised by many of the public health and social care sector.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The health service has been supported by a large number of public and private providers.
The British Medical Federation, which represents about 500,000 doctors, said it would support the NHS to keep operating and expand, but warned that if there was a funding shortfall the BDA “could consider the possibility of selling assets and lay off staff”.
The BMC’s chief executive, Paul Farmer, said: “[We are] going to be really concerned if the NHS does not meet the targets and this could be the first time that’s happened.”
We are very concerned that there could be a situation where the BMS could decide to lay off people, but we are also concerned that this could have serious implications for the health system.”
Health Minister Andrew Lansley has promised to deliver a funding boost for hospitals and health services.
In January, he announced that the NHS would receive £2bn of extra funding in the next parliament, and pledged to invest more in hospitals.
But Lansley admitted that this is “not enough” and that “there are some areas of the NHS where we are not getting what we need.”
The BMI has said the NHS will receive £1.8bn more in NHS funding in 2020-21, and Lansley announced last month that NHS hospitals would be able to offer free treatment to people with disabilities.
But the BMI’s chief economist, Andrew Wilkie, said the government’s funding target for 2020-22 is “really not realistic”.
He said that while the NHS has made significant progress in the past year, the funding is still insufficient to ensure “that our NHS and NHS services are sustainable for the foreseeable future”.
“We would hope that there is some improvement in the way that we are funding the NHS, and we would expect that in the near future there will be some improvement,” he said.
“But it would be naive to think that we can rely on this Government to do that.”