Monday, 21 May 2007
BMA Chairman, James Johnson, Resigns over MTAS Letter to the Times
I’ve been following the dreadful developments in the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) saga in the media and in the Blogs (NHS Blog Doctor and the Ferret Fancier). What is most definitely clear, is the anger and mistreatment felt by many Junior Doctors. With only 18,500 training positions up for grabs, and over 34,000 applicants, who can blame them?
This fiasco has led to the resignation of James Johnson, the chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), following a letter he and Dame Carol Black sent to the Times. The letter rejected the suggestion by Junior Doctors that the first round of MTAS interviews should be abandoned. The BMA's treasurer, Dr David Pickersgill, said: "While it (the letter) reflected the association's agreed position of working towards a pragmatic solution for this year, its tone failed to reflect the anger being currently expressed by members of the association, particularly junior doctors. It was felt to be insufficiently sensitive and has led to a loss of confidence in the chairman."
Mr Johnson said: "This (the letter) has caused huge anger among junior doctors which is the reason, to limit damage to my association and indeed to the cause of junior doctors, that I have decided to resign now."
Ministers announced last week that MTAS will not be used for the second round of interviews. Remedy UK, the Junior doctor’s pressure group, have asked that posts awarded under MTAS are to be made temporary until next years selection process.
The NHS Blog Doctor sums this situation up perfectly:
“James Johnson is respected throughout the profession. It is sad that some one who has given such sterling service to the BMA over many years should have to resign. But he is an honorable man, a man of integrity. He made a grievous error and has therefore tendered his resignation. It is characteristic of the man that he felt it appropriate to resign, and equally characteristic of Patricia Hewitt that she clings to office.”
It is time for the opposition to stop asking for Ministers to resign and start demanding that they resign. Incompetence and the failure to take responsibility for your actions (or lack of them) are becoming common characteristics of this government.