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Saturday 22nd October 2016

BMA chairman resigns

22nd May 2007

British Medical Association (BMA) chairman James Johnson has resigned in a row over a letter he wrote regarding the junior doctors’ job selection system.

He decided to resign the position he has held for four years following the letter to The Times newspaper over the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) system used for matching junior doctors to specialist posts.

Widely regarded among the profession as flawed and unfair, MTAS has caused anxiety and anger among junior doctors and left 34,000 applying for 18,500 training posts. Junior doctors also marched through London in protest.

But it was felt that Mr Johnson’s letter failed to convey that level of anger.

He later told BBC News: “This 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.?

Government ministers have since announced that MTAS will not be used for the second round of interviews.

The letter, written by vascular surgeon Mr Johnson and Dame Carol Black, chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, rejects a suggestion favoured by junior doctors at that time that a first round of interviews under the MTAS be scrapped.

They said: “We agree that a better system is needed, but believe that it should be achieved through argument and negotiation, not action that could risk harming patients, the NHS or our colleagues.?

Mr Johnson said he did not consult BMA colleagues before writing the letter. BMA treasurer Dr David Pickersgill said colleagues had lost confidence in Mr Johnson and that the letter was “insufficiently sensitive.?


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