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BMA chairman resigns over MTAS letter to the Times

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39223.767870.DB (Published 24 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1074
  1. Lynn Eaton
  1. London

    In an unexpected move, the BMA's chairman, Jim Johnson, has resigned after protests at a letter he wrote to the Times newspaper published on 17 May (www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/debate/letters/article1800798.ece). His letter supported the government's reforms of medical education and stated that continuing to use the flawed medical training application service (MTAS) system for appointing round 1 candidates was the “best available solution.”

    His letter, written with Carol Black, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, upset BMA members over last weekend and led to Mr Johnson's decision to resign last Sunday.

    Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA's Central Consultants and Specialists Committee, was one of the council members who called for Mr Johnson's resignation.

    “The history of this goes back to the last annual representative meeting,” he said. “There was a considerable amount of concern that Jim was not expressing the views of membership. In his acceptance speech [of his fourth year as chairman] there was a great deal of acceptance that he would change and reflect more what members wanted. When Jim welcomed the [government's] reforms, that jarred with a lot of people.

    “Over the MTAS issue it was clear that his views, particularly around the chief medical officer, don't reflect the huge amount of anger and distress that the profession, …

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