THE honeymoon period be-tween Britain's doctors and the new Government runs out in the autumn, the secretary of the British Medical Association warned yesterday.

Dr Mac Armstrong said that, by that time, doctors wanted to see ''flesh on the bones'' of Labour's pledges on getting rid of the internal market, implementing the ban on tobacco advertising and promoting a new public health policy.

He said there was a particularly pressing need to resume the hospital building programme, which had been paralysed in recent years by the Private Finance Initiative.

''Spending by the NHS on capital schemes has nosedived,'' he said. ''The expected rise in PFI schemes simply has not materialised because, according to the construction industry, the bureaucracy is too large and costs are too high.

''In practical terms, nothing is happening and there is a log jam. The Government says PFI can be done by a simpler process. It remains to be seen if the construction industry can respond to that and let us actually see new hospitals on the ground.''

Dr Armstrong, speaking in Edinburgh, where he was made a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, said there had been a noticeable shift in doctors' opinion and much was expected of the Government.

''The anxiety is that the new politicians do not waste that opportunity. Clearly we are in a honeymoon period, but I think they will have to start putting flesh on the bones of their promises by the autumn.

''We will need to see some action in order to tackle the issues we have consistently flagged up,'' said the former Argyllshire GP, who was ap-pointed BMA secretary in 1994.

Dr Armstrong said these included addressing problems of inequalities in health and poverty. He said there was a need to develop fresh public health targets and support the work of public health doctors.

Dr Armstrong said the pros-pect of a Scottish health service run by a new Scottish parliament did not cause the BMA any problems, although there were reservations about the possible powers to vary training and conditions for doctors.