Contracts, pensions, and hamsters

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 05 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:15
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. The Times

    The BMA's new chairman, Hamish Meldrum, defends the GP contract and hopes that the new health team will master the art of listening

    Hamish Meldrum, the new chairman of the council of the BMA, is a Scot born and bred. That he works as a GP in Bridlington, Yorkshire, is an accident of history that has echoes in today's confusion over junior doctors' appointments.

    When Meldrum graduated from Edinburgh in the early 1970s, he expected to start work in the Royal Infirmary there. But a muddle over the appointment found him desperately looking around for a job. Fortunately the consultant involved met a colleague from Torbay, in Devon, who was looking for a trainee.

    So Meldrum spent three years as a medical senior house officer and medical registrar at Torbay Hospital, about as far south of the Scottish border as geography allows. He had intended to become a hospital doctor, but his time on the wards was not very enjoyable. “The hospital was not a particularly happy place at the time,” he recalled this week. “There was a lot of disquiet about junior doctors' hours, and I …

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