Education And Debate

BMA's response

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7458.163 (Published 15 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:163
  1. James Johnson, chairman of council1
  1. 1 British Medical Association, London WC1H 9JP

    Introduction

    By raising important issues about representation and accountability in the BMA earlier this year, Nizam Mamode has done the BMA a service. Any member organisation representing an important professional grouping ought to be able to show that it is fully responsive to the needs and concerns of members whenever it is challenged, especially from within.

    Compensation for loss of earnings

    Mr Mamode's first criticism is of the practice of reimbursing members of the BMA Council for demonstrable monetary loss while on association business. As he acknowledges, he has benefited from this arrangement, receiving a payment of £21 900 in 2000. Although he was compensated for losing part of his NHS salary, the BMA's practice has been to compensate members for monetary loss, whether it is from NHS or private practice. The BMA could stop compensation for losses from private practice while continuing to reimburse other sorts of loss, but this would unfairly discriminate against some members, particularly those who work exclusively in the private sector.

    It is right that we should consider how, or indeed whether, to reward people for time spent working for their representative association. I have benefited from the BMA's compensation scheme but accept that there are powerful arguments in favour of remunerating doctors for what they do for the association, rather than compensating them for lost earnings.

    Every member of the BMA receives a …

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