Views And Reviews

BMA council member apologises for intemperate letter

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 22 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1091
  1. L Beecham

    The BMA council has strongly criticised Dr David Roberts, a general practitioner in Northamptonshire and chairman of the Dispensing Doctors' Association, for a letter he wrote to the Chemist & Druggist. It has deplored the language in the letter and dissociated itself from the contents.

    Dr Roberts's letter accused those pharmacists who were using a loophole in the regulations for opening a new pharmacy near a dispensing doctor's practice as behaving like “rats from a sewer.” He emphasised in the letter that he was a member of the BMA council.

    Speakers in the heated debate at last week's council meeting believed that many people would assume that Dr Roberts was speaking on behalf of the council and they urged him to apologise. The chairman of council and the BMA secretary have assured the president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and the editor of the Chemist & Druggist that Dr Roberts's views did not represent BMA policy.

    Dr Roberts eventually agreed that he would write to the magazine explaining that he was not speaking on behalf of the council and he apologised unreservedly for any misconception that the letter had caused.

    He did not apologise, however, for raising the issue because he did not think that the General Medical Services Committee had taken the appropriate action to support dispensing doctors. He would not apologise, he said, to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, which was inciting its members to use the loophole in the regulations which denied doctors a defence against the pharmacists' applications. “If the GMSC cannot see the threat …

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