Moving to the moral high ground

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 10 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:72
  1. Mark Gould
  1. London

    Jim Johnson, the new chairman of the BMA council, is hoping to move the present “dysfunctional” BMA on to the moral high ground

    The BMA is a “dysfunctional organisation,” which has declined in terms of setting the national health policy agenda and influencing ministers, Jim Johnson, the new chairman of the BMA council, said last week.

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    New BMA chairman, Jim Johnson: “I am for civilised argument”


    Mr Johnson, a consultant vascular surgeon at Halton General Hospital in Cheshire, who was elected last week on the transferable vote system, says the BMA's external relations are at “pretty low ebb.”

    In his first interview within just 24 hours of being elected Mr Johnson said that despite the close vote, he could represent all doctors. There was no outright winner in the first ballot of the election. After a complex procedure of redistribution of the minority votes, the outcome was a tie between Mr Johnson and Dr George Rae, a GP. Mr Johnson was elected because he had the highest number of votes on the first round. “I have the mandate as I was elected,” he said.

    But he said that internal tension, a rigid 150 year old structure, and the lengthy, and sometimes acrimonious, contract negotiations had seen the BMA's influence wane.

    “We have missed out on a great many things because of the amount …

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