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Drive-By Doc Sparks Union Spat

Posted by Dr No on 24 August 2009

Dr Richard “It seemed like a good idea at the time” Smith, late of the BMJ, continues to blog on the BMJ website. It now appears that his former colleagues have been having a laugh at his expense by replacing his erudite words with their own tedious scribblings.

Their most recent substitution, which can be read here, should have read:

Dr Richard Smith asks: is it unpatriotic to criticise the BMA?

smith.jpgI’m worried that in the highly charged atmosphere created by the extraordinary US debate on health care my published anxieties about the BMA’s Wine Club might brand me as unpatriotic. Perhaps The Lancet or some equally nasty, right wing American media outlet will track down my words and republish them. I will be obliged to go on The Today Programme on Radio Four, and eat humble pie before Evan “Wingnut” Davis, or, God forbid, John “The Hatchet” Humphrys.

I certainly have little doubt that by some measures the UK has one of the world’s worst doctor’s trade unions. It may not be as bad as that of Sierra Leone, but in terms of value it must be almost as bad. To spend 16% of the Association’s income on the Wine Club and yet have half the profession excluded and professional mortality rates in some parts of the country little better than those of a developing country is very poor value. But – hey! – if you have some disposable income and live near Tavistock Square, you can get some of the best claret in the world - and without trouble.

Now, it seems, the pondlife that swell the ranks of the National Association of Sessional GPs – National Association of Skiving Drive-By GPs, if you ask me – are planning to boycott the BMA and join some beer and skittles union. Their chief pongo, Dr Richard Fieldmouse, is even quoted as saying “the BMA only has itself to blame”.

Fieldmouse – who manages to combine rodent looks with the effectiveness of a rat in a trap, should know better that cosy up to real trade unionists. Instead of the comforting leather upholstery of BMA house, he will find himself squatting on bar stools in seedy East End pubs.

My pals in medical politics, particularly highly intelligent ones like Drs Laurence “Punter” Buckman and Hamish “McTavistock” Mildew will soon sort Fieldmouse out. They must inform him and his low-life pals that their scheme to split off from the BMA can never work. There’s simply too much at stake.


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