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Doctors – a profession on the edge

The chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) has resigned. He said it was over the fall-out from the overhaul of doctor training, but it may well be indicative of a wider problem – how the profession reacts to the changing NHS.

The training row sparked protests by junior doctors around the country. The junior doctors training fiasco has claimed its latest victim.

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Junior medics were angry that BMA chairman James Johnson had written a letter to a newspaper defending Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson, seen as the chief architect of the system. The four-year stewardship of Mr Johnson was always going to end next month when hundreds of doctors meet for their annual conference.

He has said he would not be seeking re-election. There has been growing disquiet for over a year about Mr Johnson’s style of leadership. There were even calls for him to go at last year’s BMA conference amid accusations that he was too close to government and did not consult with members enough.