Tuesday, 22 May 2007


So, James Johnson, the head of the British Medical Association (BMA) has been forced to resign over MMC. The feeling is that the MMC fiasco and the BMA’s position of support for it is completely at odds with the opinions of the vast majority of doctors.

You know, it’s never been clear to me what the BMA actually do. To be a BMA member you have to pay about £300 a year. This is a sizable amount of money but I’ve never had a good idea what you get for your cash. When I pose this question to doctors, I get replies like “it’s important to be a member because they’ll support you if there’s a problem with your employer” and “the BMJ is a good journal to get.”

I’ve never been wholly convinced by this line. I mean, what protection does BMA membership give you over and above standard UK employment laws? I don’t know, maybe someone can answer his question but I don’t think it’s much if any. And, to be honest £300 for a magazine subscription is a little steep, especially considering the BMJ is available to read in every single hospital library in the country for free.

The only valid reason for being a BMA member I could think of was that if the shit really did hit the fan and the government properly tried to screw us over, then the BMA would be there fighting our corner.

MMC is the government trying to screw me, and thousand of other junior doctors across our land, over in a big fashion. I expected the BMA to be standing up and fighting against a system that nobody seems to want. Were the BMA fighting our corner?

Were they bollocks. The silence was deafening. The complicity is sickening.

£300 a year.

What a waste of money.


Mousie said...

I've often thought exactly the same thing about the RCN, whilst forking out a significant chunk of my salary each year just in case someone sues me for plastering the wrong leg, as if that would EVER happen...

AND we don't even get a free journal, godammit.

Spirit of 1976 said...

In all fairness to the RCN (declared interest: I'm an RCN steward) they have been shaking off their "pussywhipped" reputation and getting more militant in the past couple of years.

Look at the last two RCN Congresses. Patricia Hewitt getting her ass handed back to her last year; members voting for industrial action this year.

It also should be pointed out that the RCN does a lot of behind-the-scenes lobbying that isn't very visible, but does result in real, palpable changes in policy.

I do get a free Nursing Standard, but that's only because I'm a steward. Shame that the Nursing Standard is a bit rubbish and often gets chucked into the recycled bin unread.