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Stop it BMA, just stop it

Phil’s had it with the BMA and is fuming at the surrender of hard-won professional privileges

Phil's had it with the BMA and is fuming at the surrender of hard-won professional privileges

I'm not a member of the BMA. I have been, on three previous occasions. With my background (family members in the mining and teaching community) I assumed, early on, that joining a union was mandatory. I joined as a student, because it seemed the thing to do. Every profession, every vocation, every trade, every craft needs its professional body to represent its interests. United, we are a force to be reckoned with. Individually, we are so many vulnerable practitioners.

Collectively, we are a disparate bunch. None of us is short of an opinion or two, and representing doctors as a profession is not a simple concern. I have heard it said that organising doctors can be compared with herding cats. We wander off in different directions. The herd mentality does not come easily to us.

We need a remarkable representative organisation to pull this off, and we haven't got it. What we have got, instead, is the BMA. Three times I have joined because I thought it was the right thing to do – and three times I have resigned in high dudgeon at the BMA's failure to represent our interests. The letters will all be on file somewhere.

High dudgeon

More recently I twice seriously considered rejoining, in order that I might immediately resign again in high dudgeon. The first time was because of the BMA's craven capitulation to MMC and MTAS, the new junior doctors' training scheme and online job application system. This was an utter travesty, an insult to our junior colleagues, and it seriously – and possibly permanently – undermined the quality of training and experience for future consultants. Incidentally, it also ruined a couple of thousand careers. Various high-ranking BMA members should be eternally ashamed of themselves for this.

The second time was last weekend's revelation that the decision whether to attempt to resuscitate or not should be handed over to ‘senior' nurses, however they might be defined.

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. It negates everything we have spent so long, as a profession, earning. It's not, in real terms, going to affect very many patients directly, but the principle is a vital one.

There has to be a difference. What is the point of excelling intellectually, of studying for years, of endless hours of endeavour, of taking on crippling debt and mind-numbing responsibility, if every historically hard-won professional privilege is to be farmed off to some bugger who's just been on the ‘Arresting Within The Modern NHS' course? Just what does the BMA imagine it is doing? And where is its mandate for this?

Get this, BMA: nurses are not doctors. Nurses are nurses, brilliant at what they do, when they are allowed to do it, but dreadful at being doctors – in much the same way as I would make a rubbish dentist; I haven't had the training, and neither have they.

Get a grip. Remember who you are supposed to be representing. Forget about Government health policy, which is the remit of our stupid bloody shortsighted fiscally-obsessed mince-brained masters, who will be gone before you know it.

Stop giving away prescribing rights to nurse practitioners and meaningless intermediate roles, 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. And don't piss away those privileges and responsibilities that you don't have the right or the mandate to destroy. They are there for a reason.

Phil Peverley

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