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BMA hits back against Phil Peverley

BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum has come out fighting after Phil Peverley's scathing criticism of the association in this week's Pulse.

In a letter to Pulse sent this afternoon, Dr Meldrum defended the BMA's stance on nurse prescribing, boxing and resuscitation of patients. He also accused Phil of misrepresenting the BMA's position on the MMC/MTAS fiasco.

In his column 'Stop it BMA, just stop it' this week, Phil urged the BMA to 'stop giving away prescribing rights to nurse practitioners...stop calling for bans on sports you disapprove of, stop trying to micromanage people's lifestyles and diet and instead support your profession and its values.'

Dr Meldrum's response is as follows:

'Phil Peverley is in danger of sounding like a medical version of the hokey-cokey – in out, in out, shake it all about - as far as membership of the BMA is concerned. I'm sorry he is so hacked off that he's developed the Groucho Marx philosophy of thinking about rejoining just so that he can resign.

I'm even sorrier that he has misrepresented the stance BMA took on the MMC/MTAS fiasco. Long before others had woken up to the impending disaster, we were calling for a moratorium to allow time to think again. In the event it couldn't have gone more wrong and there was no pleasure in saying we told you so.

It's so much easier to shout from the sidelines than to stay on the pitch and try to get the right result. We've all learned lessons from MTAS but I can assure Dr Peverley, and everyone else, that we are still battling for junior doctors.

The BMA is a broad church representing doctors with a vast range of views. The weakness is that we'll never please everyone, the strength is that we minimise the potential for in-fighting and professional anarchy.

Clearly Dr Peverley doesn't back competency-based nurse prescribing or support our stance on boxing. Many doctors do and our policies are all democratically determined, not based on personal whim.

On resuscitation of patients, If you read the actual new guidance [not the superficial press coverage] you will find that only suitably-experienced, competent nurses will be able to make decisions on CPR, where they are the most senior clinician and local policy allows. There are only a limited number of situations where that will be the case..

As for the more general charge of not defending the interests of doctors, Dr Peverley couldn't be more wrong. That is the bread and butter of what the BMA does and will continue to do. OK, we're not always completely successful but, at the risk of being accused of complacency which, believe me, we never will be, we're still the envy of most other unions in terms of the influence we wield on behalf of the profession.

One thing Dr Peverley and the BMA agree on – though he doesn't seem to appreciate it -is the need to stand up for doctors and high quality care for patients. It is, as he says, a huge responsibility and we are totally committed to it.'

Phil Peverley: called on the BMA to 'get a grip' in his Pulse column this week Phil Peverley: called on the BMA to 'get a grip' in his Pulse column this week Dr Hamish Meldrum Dr Hamish Meldrum

I'm sorry he is so hacked off that he's developed the Groucho Marx philosophy of thinking about rejoining just so that he can resign

Phil Peverley in his column this week Phil Peverley in his column this week

Why are the BMA apparently striving to come up with new ways to denigrate and undermine the profession they are supposed to represent? It's a moronic inferno.

Dr Meldrum: 'Dr Peverley has misrepresented the BMA' - Dr Meldrum: 'Dr Peverley has misrepresented the BMA' -

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