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Pompous BMA outspun by debased Government

With the contract ballot casting GPs as turkeys voting for Christmas, Phil is feeling more depressed than ever about GPs’ future

With the contract ballot casting GPs as turkeys voting for Christmas, Phil is feeling more depressed than ever about GPs' future

Well, I feel pretty stupid. Just two columns ago I was urging, nay, begging you all to vote to reject our Government's shameful contract ‘offer' – and then when we got our BMA ballot papers, we realised we couldn't actually vote No at all.

We were given two options: A (Crap) or B (Crapper). Neither was my preferred choice, and there wasn't a box for what I wanted to vote for.

We have lost this one. A large majority of us, and frankly I can't blame anyone, will have voted for option A. Our leaders in the BMA left us with no other option. They will pretend they did not direct our vote, yet they published a document stating directly that option B was more damaging for the profession, so they could not recommend it.

The implication is that Crap is better than Crapper. It took an enterprising colleague to phone up the office to discover that a third option, leaving both boxes blank, would not be classed as a spoilt ballot paper and would, if performed by enough of us, have invalidated the whole procedure and forced a rethink.

However, it's too late now. The ballot paper gave us turkeys the choice of voting for Christmas, or voting for 20 December. Gobble gobble.

Poor timing?

I have literally never been this depressed about the future of my profession or about the abilities of our leaders.

Meanwhile, another hot topic splashes across the pages of our national newspapers. The BMA has applied for an alcohol licence extension for BMA House, just a few days after one of its pompous and irrelevant press releases condemned

24-hour drinking culture and called for higher taxes on alcohol.

I don't give a monkey's if the BMA wants to host late-night parties – other than experiencing a mild regret that I'm never likely to be invited to one – but could this just possibly be a case of poor timing? If you want to be taken seriously, why bend over and offer your arse for a kicking?

Our reptilian national press did not pass on the chance to swing a boot into the BMA's buttocks. An article in The Sunday Times was particularly contemptible. ‘A new centre for binge drinking has been identified in the heart of London' crowed Isabel Oakeshott under the headline ‘BMA accused of drunken antics at its London HQ'. And this is even before they get the extended licence.

Just a couple of years ago, these same BMA denizens were rightly lauded for their heroic efforts to help the victims of a bus bombing in this very same street. What has gone wrong in the meantime? Have we turned into prats? Or has a concerted and cynical Government campaign of spin and misinformation permanently tarnished our hard-earned respect?

Breathtaking cynicism

Let's look at the final paragraph of the Sunday Times article. ‘A Department of Health source said "It's ironic that they want to extend their drinking time by two hours – patients would be happy if they agreed to work an extra two to three hours".'

Perhaps it's best that this worthless oxygen bandit retains his anonymity. The sheer breathtaking cynicism of this nameless Government stooge, in cobbling together these two unrelated subjects, beggars belief. This pursuit of a soundbite at all costs, however irrelevant, is characteristic of the shrivelled soul of this debased administration. These same people, remember, gave us September 11th as ‘a good day to bury bad news'.

And now, thanks to our ‘ballot', they have unlimited power over the future of our profession, for as long as they can hang on to power. Let us pray it won't be long.

Dr Phil Peverley is a GP in Sunderland

Phil Peverley

If you want to be taken seriously, why bend over and offer your arse for a kicking?

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