He said: “We have a government trying to keep the health service running on nothing but fumes. A health service at breaking point.
“Run by ministers who wilfully ignore the pleas of the profession and the impact on patients.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. It is the result of an explicit political choice.”
He went on to point out that compared to other developed economies, less was being spent on the NHS than other health systems.
And he said this was having a direct impact on patients, pointing to the rise in the numbers of patients facing long waits for a bed following an emergency admission – up four-fold in five years – as proof.
“The government wants a world-class NHS with a third class settlement,” he said.
It comes as the BMA unveiled the results of a poll of more than 1,000 adults on the state of the NHS.
82% were worried about the future of the NHS
62% expected the NHS to get worse in the coming years
More people were dissatisfied with the NHS – 43% – than were satisfied – 33%
But a Department of Health spokesman said: “This does a disservice to the achievements of NHS staff.”
He said the NHS was seeing the “highest cancer survival rates ever”, improving mental health services and better access to GPs.
He also added independent polling showed pubic satisfaction rates were also high in contrast to the BMA poll.
The UK’s first artificial heart pump has moved a step closer to being used on patients, scientists have said.
It has been developed at Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science 2 by Calon Cardio, and clinical trials are due to begin in late 2018 with the aim of a full rollout two years later.
The pump is implanted into the failing heart and should last about 10 years.
Stuart McConchie, chief executive of Calon Cardio, said it was the most-advanced pump of its kind.
“This is for a very sick group of people and there are millions of them in the world, and hundreds of thousands in the United Kingdom,” he said.
“It is the first British pump to be built for this purpose: to treat blood which is flowing through the pump extremely gently and not to do any damage to the blood.
“There are other pumps that have been built that do cause some damage to the blood and, as a result, patients have adverse events that diminish the impact of the implantation and the treatment.
“Reliability of these pumps has been established for several years but blood handling is a problem. If they break up red blood cells or white blood cells or damage proteins then there is a cost of that.”
The pump is commonly known as a ventricular assist device (VAD) and the one being developed in Swansea is called a MiniVAD.
After being implanted directly into the heart, it is driven by an embedded electric motor and powered by a battery pack worn by the user.
Mr McConchie said the device was designed to “assist the heart itself and not to replace it”.
The last VAD produced was sold to one of the world’s major cardiovascular companies for $3.4bn (about £2.6bn), he added.
But while there is a huge monetary value to the product, Mr McConchie said the key aspect is that it will improve a patient’s quality of life.
“If we can demonstrate that we have reduced the adverse events, you have something that’s much more forgettable that’s put inside the body,” he added.
“Patients don’t have to go back into hospital for correction of any adverse events, so the absolute cost benefit becomes substantial.
“That means the NHS, for example, or a healthcare provider in other countries like the United States, don’t have as much cost in treating the patient who has a ventricle assist device and the benefit to society comes with that.”
Mr McConchie said the patient experience was “much, much better” if they do not have to visit the hospital frequently.
Lisa Dennis is looking at photos of her daughter Olivia – a blonde girl with a radiant smile.
These are special moments, frozen in time. Olivia died four years ago, aged 10, after having an asthma attack.
Her parents did not even know their gymnastics-loving daughter had the condition.
But Olivia is not the only child to lose their life to asthma.
According to the latest data for England and Wales, 37 children and teenagers died from the disease in 2014.
The figure has risen over the past five years. But many of these deaths are thought to be preventable.
Lisa vividly remembers the night Olivia died. It was a bitterly cold night, and they were at home in Kent.
Struggling to breathe
Lisa, who is married and has a younger son, told BBC News: “We’d tried so long to have children, and when she came along, it was just a miracle for us.
“Olivia was a really special, beautiful girl.
“That night, she was on all fours on the bed – and struggling to breathe.
“She collapsed onto the floor. I tried CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation], but unfortunately it didn’t work.
“I’ll never forget being at the hospital and the consultant asking us if Olivia was asthmatic.
“I said, ‘No, but she has an inhaler.’ He said to us there and then, ‘Your daughter is asthmatic.'”
Lisa’s ongoing grief is compounded by her frustration about what she says is a lack of awareness of asthma.
She had been given an inhaler for an allergy, but Lisa says the word “asthma” was never mentioned to the family, and the medicine was issued by repeat prescription.
Asthma: What you need to know
Asthma is a common but unpredictable illness
It affects the airways and can lead to shortness of breath, coughing and a tight feeling in the chest
One in 11 children is affected
Inhalers need to be used regularly and effectively
The blue inhalers provide relief during an attack, while the brown ones are for more regular use to prevent flare-ups
Steroids via an inhaler reduce the inflammation from asthma
The UK has some of the highest asthma death rates in Europe
The feeling is shared by Dr Satish Rao, from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, who runs an NHS service in the West Midlands for difficult asthma cases.
He said: “One of the biggest frustrations for us is the complacency among healthcare professionals about asthma in children and young people.
“We have struggled to convince professionals that asthma is a serious illness, and that patients can die from a severe attack.
“It’s probably because it’s a common illness, and quite often we hear staff saying, ‘Oh, it’s just asthma.'”
Dr Rao believes many deaths could be prevented by better information about when to seek medical help.
And he is aware of 16 cases in his region where schools have to work very closely with families and give them extra support to make sure the children keep their condition under control.
‘Asthma is a killer’
The number of child asthma deaths has risen steadily from 17 in 2010 to 37 in 2014.
Portsmouth GP Dr Andy Whittamore, who is also Asthma UK’s clinical lead, says it can be difficult to get young patients to adhere to taking their medicine.
He said: “With children particularly, there’s lots of fear about the medicine itself – and from their parents too.
“Steroids have got a bad press because of abuse by bodybuilders and doping in the Olympics.
“But the doses we give are in very low levels – and if taken correctly, they only go directly into the lungs.”
These misconceptions can be fuelled by stigma, with asthmatic children in particular not wanting to be seen as weak or inferior.
Asthma UK has even found that teenagers sometimes shied away from using inhalers because they thought their shape resembled that of sex toys.
Bereaved mother Lisa believes much more can be done.
She said: “Everyone needs to look at their children – especially anyone with an inhaler – because asthma is a killer.
“And I think doctors need to recognise that and make families aware because this is serious, desperately serious.”
Lisa wants to see awareness posters in GP surgeries, more regular reviews and plans for young asthma patients, and an improved inhaler design so the actual device contains advice for bystanders helping with an attack.
These are simple measures, which could help save lives.
South America is a hotbed of potential viruses that could be the next major threat to the world’s health, according to “danger maps”.
The EcoHealth Alliance in New York looked at mammals, the viruses they harbour and how they come into contact with people.
It revealed bats carry more potential threats than other mammals.
The researchers hope the knowledge could be used to prevent the next HIV, Ebola or flu.
Some of the most worrying infections have made the jump from animals to people – the world’s largest Ebola outbreak seemed to start in bats, while HIV came from chimpanzees.
The researchers’ challenge – and it was far from easy – was to predict from where the next could emerge.
They looked at all 586 viruses known to infect 754 species of mammal. This included 188 zoonotic infections – those that have infected both humans and other mammals.
But they also knew some species had been studied in incredible detail while others had been practically ignored.
So the researchers used the information they did know to fill the gaps in their knowledge and estimate which species were harbouring viruses with the potential to infect people.
The study, published in the journal Nature, predicts 17 zoonotic infections in every species of bat and 10 in every species of primate and rodent.
The team then mapped the ranges of species and the infections they carry to work out where the world’s danger zones are.
The threat from rodents was again global, but with a concentration in South America.
Dr Kevin Olival, one of the researchers, told the BBC News website: “The missing hotspots are different for different groups of mammals in different parts of the world, but the bat signal overwhelms some of the others.
“But I’m not scared of bats, it’s not the bat’s fault.”
The researchers hope their maps will help the world prepare for the next infection that makes the jump.
Dr Olival added: “Our take-home message is these diseases are emerging because of the human impact on the environment. Our answer is minimise our contact with wildlife, including through hunting and habitat destruction.”
James Lloyd-Smith. from the University of California, Los Angeles, said: “Although most pandemics are zoonoses, most zoonoses do not cause pandemics.
“[The] predictions are best used to prioritise research and viral surveillance efforts, not to drive specific policy decisions.”
The researchers’ next project will look at birds which are another source of zoonotic infections such as avian flu.
Researchers focussed on 45 unsafe community burials and the 310 people who were identified as having had contact with the infected bodies. They found, on average, just over two people went on to develop Ebola for every unsafe community burial that took place.
The bigger risk was to those who cared for a loved one with Ebola before their death. Researchers found many more infections could have been prevented if the sick were treated in hospital rather than by their families and communities.
However, using these estimates, the study suggested safe and dignified burials by Red Cross volunteers prevented between 1,411 and 10,452 cases of Ebola.
The authors said these are conservative estimates.
They highlighted a number of limitations in the study, including the challenges of collecting very personal and sensitive information about funerals, and the length of time between when some of the burials took place and when the data was collected.
Ending the war
Hundreds of paid volunteers took on the grim task of collecting bodies from people’s homes in full personal protective gear, while also having to manage the grieving families and communities.
They were ordinary West Africans, such as teachers and college students. Many carried out the relentless and dangerous work for months.
Some were stigmatised in their communities, because people became scared they might bring the virus home with them.
In reality, they were helping to stem world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak.
“It was very difficult work,” said Red Cross volunteer Mohamed Kamara who I spent a day with as he collected bodies in Sierra Leone in January 2015.
“It’s good news that people realise the impact of what we did to help end the transmission of Ebola,” he said while reacting to the findings of the study from the capital Freetown.
“Some people didn’t even want to come near us at that time.
“But the team we worked with helped give us the courage to do this important work… and we ended this war.”
Red Cross safe and dignified burials
Teams managed over 47,000 burials
Carried out more than 50% of all burials during the outbreak
All deaths at home were presumed to be Ebola
About 1,500 Red Cross volunteers involved in burials