BMA Q and A: time with the treasurer
8 November 2012
BMA treasurer Andrew Dearden answers your questions
BMA membership levels are increasing. Why do you think this is and why would you encourage more doctors to join the BMA?
The BMA is seen as the voice of doctors, a profession still respected above all others in the UK, and in this is our greatest strength. The BMA provides vital support for doctors including the ability to adapt and cope with the numerous changes we have been subjected to, even the recent ill-thought out ones. Doctors have always adapted and continued to care for patients regardless, and they know this.
People see the government acting without consultation, negotiation or even common sense or reason. They see the greater need for the BMA more now than ever before. We don’t always succeed in getting the government to see the errors of its ways (not even its own MPs can do that) but the BMA is a voice that is heard — not always listened to, I admit — but always heard.
As BMA treasurer you get to sit on all BMA councils and committees. Which are the ones you have learned most from and why?
Impossible to answer. Each committee and council adds to the overall influence and work of the BMA. The work of the professional side, including our medical ethics committee, board of science, and international department, adds to the influence of the political and representational side and vice versa.
We are a trade union and a professional body and we should be proud of each aspect of our association. If we were to try and separate into different bits we would weaken ourselves; we are definitely more than the sum of our parts.
Are there any new membership benefits or improvements that are going to be put on offer?
We are looking at several in fact. It is a little too early to go into too much detail right now. But I like the ethos behind the current advertisements for LloydsTSB, promising support ‘for the journey’, from start to finish. I think it applies equally to the BMA and doctors.
You recently accepted a bust of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan on behalf of the BMA. Why did the BMA think this was important?
The bronze statue of Bevan, donated by former BMA president Averil Mansfield, was wonderful. We felt that it represented the ethos of the NHS — to take care of the people of the UK.
We had a special plinth made so that it could have a place of pride in the Hastings Room in BMA House, London. In these times especially, it is good to be reminded of the important role the NHS has played in the lives of so many.