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BMA leadership dodge ‘slap on the wrist’ over Health Bill opposition

by Louise Naughton
23 May 2012

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BMA leaders have avoided being reprimanded over their opposition to the Health and Social Care Act.

In proposing the motion to give a “slap on the wrist” to the leadership of the British Medical Association (BMA) for “taking so long to wake up to the malignant effects of the Act”, Dr Paul Hobday of Kent LMC voiced his anger over the BMA’s late opposition to the legislation.

He claimed the BMA’s “poor ineffective resistance” was due to – in part – the “smokescreen” of clinical commissioning.

“Despite members voting twice instructing the BMA to campaign against the bill, in the end it was too little too late,” he said.

“I believe if the BMA had got its act together from the start, the bill could have been stopped.

“But the BMA blew it…it should have led the opposition to the bill not tag along behind the royal colleges.”

Dr Hobday also argued the absence of a member ballot over the reforms was in “stark contrast” to the BMA’s campaign on pensions, leaving GPs looking “self-serving” to the general public.

BMA Council member Dr Fay Wilson led a spirited defence of the association’s leadership.

She said the BMA shouldn’t have been expected to “overthrow the government”.

“This attack on our own leadership is not a slap on the wrist, it is a fundamental undermining of the BMA and its processes,” said Dr Wilson.

“Self-destruction is futile.”

Chair Dr Laurence Buckman said there was no need to ballot as it was clear the majority of members were overwhelmingly hostile to the bill.

Chair of the BMA Council Dr Hamish Meldrum voiced his disappointment at the motion.

He urged members to concentrate your efforts on mitigating the worst aspects of the bill and not on “infighting and squabbling”.

Dr Hobday’s motion was lost when put to the vote.