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New BMA chair warns of ‘challenging time’ for profession

The newly elected chair of the BMA, Dr Mark Porter, has warned doctors face a 'particularly challenging time' as the financial squeeze intensifies in the NHS.

The warning comes after Dr Porter was elected today by BMA Council to replace GP Dr Hamish Meldrum as chair of the organisation.

Dr Porter is a consultant anaesthetist at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and chair of the BMA's Consultants Committee.

The other candidates for the post were Dr George Rae, a GP in Whitley Bay, and Professor Michael Rees, a professor of vascular medicine at the University of Bangor.

In a statement, Dr Porter said: ‘I'm excited and privileged to be taking on this role at what is clearly a particularly challenging time for the NHS and the medical profession.

'The BMA will continue to work to help its members do the best for its patients during a time of huge change, and often huge financial difficulty, for the NHS.'

Dr Porter said the BMA Council's work on pensions had shown how effectively it could work together as a team and said to continue this he needed the council's ‘passion, your advice and most of all your membership of the team'.

Dr Porter told Pulse last week that there would be ‘no knee-jerk decisions' about further industrial action over pensions.

He also indicated that the BMA would be willing to consider a ‘bank holiday-style' strike, where GP surgeries would close and hospitals will be manned by skeleton staff.