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BMA must learn lesson

Amid dramatic scenes last week, delegates at the BMA's annual representatives' meeting ignored the pleadings of their leaders, and voted to have nothing to do with the Government's care record plans.

The move, which throws the whole future of the care record rollout into doubt, places official BMA policy broadly in line with Pulse's Common Sense on IT campaign, which is demanding explicit patient consent before records are shared.

In theory, Connecting for Health now has little option but to backtrack and further remodel its plans for patient consent – for how can care records come into being when the doctors who are meant to be using them refuse to play ball?

Political manoeuvres

Except, of course, that in the world of medical politics, what is true in theory is often far from true in reality. The BMA's leaders already seem to be manoeuvring themselves out of what they see as a tight spot, with the views of the IT committee far more conciliatory this week than those expressed from the floor at last week's conference.

Dr Richard Vautrey may have had a point when he cautioned that refusing to co-operate with Connecting for Health would be ill-advised, but he must also learn the lessons of recent history. When Mr James Johnson failed to reflect the anger of the profession over MTAS, it cost him his job. The BMA must not make the same mistake twice.

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