BMA elects new chairman

Consultants' committee chairman Dr Mark Porter has been elected as chairman of the BMA.

Dr Porter: 'I’m excited and privileged to be taking on this role at what is clearly a particularly challenging time for the NHS and the medical profession'
Dr Porter: 'I’m excited and privileged to be taking on this role at what is clearly a particularly challenging time for the NHS and the medical profession'

Dr Porter, who beat Whitley Bay GP Dr George Rae to the post, looks set to maintain strong BMA opposition to the government's Health Act reforms and cuts to NHS pensions.

In a speech at the BMA annual representatives meeting (ARM) in Bournemouth, Dorset, this week he dismissed the Health Act as a 'fiasco', and questioned the morality of cuts to pensions.

In a statement following his election, Dr Porter said: 'I’m excited and privileged to be taking on this role at what is clearly a particularly challenging time for the NHS and the medical profession.  The BMA will continue to work to help its members do the best for its patients during a time of huge change, and often huge financial difficulty, for the NHS.'

Dr Porter has been a consultant in obstetric anaesthesia at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust since 1998, where he was also a clinical director from 2000 to 2003.

He has been chairman of the BMA consultants' committee since 2009 and chaired its Junior Doctors Committee between 1997 and 1998.

Dr Porter was elected today by the 34 voting members of the BMA Council at a special meeting at the close of the ARM. He will replace the current chairman, Yorkshire GP Dr Hamish Meldrum, whose five-year term has now ended.

The other candidates for the post were Whitley Bay GP Dr George Rae and Professor Michael Rees, a professor of vascular medicine at the University of Bangor.

In a speech this week at the ARM, Dr Porter said: ‘The government has now acknowledged that staff groups paying in to the pension scheme are, in fact, paying billions to the Treasury. The changes are not fair, not moral and not just.’

Dr Porter also hit out over the Health Act. ‘The fiasco that is the Health and Social Care Act is now law. Continuing on down the road travelled by successive governments over two decades, the legislation is designed to return England to an imagined bucolic state in which a diversity of providers drives clinical competition.’

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