This was my last BOA Council meeting as BOTA President and it continued to feel as if this committee was the most supportive of junior doctors of all the committees I attend. After usual business of approving last meetings minutes, noting trustee nominations, and membership figures, a financial report was provided by the treasurer. Soon after a report of recent international and national meetings was given by the BOA President, Mr. Tim Wilton. These included ACCEA, COMOC, BSCOS, BHS, BASK, and BRITSPINE. It was noted that trainee attendance was not as high as expected in some of these, especially COMOC in Cape Town. I suggested this may be due to costs of training.
The bulk of the meeting centred around current issues such as the junior doctor contract dispute, consultant outcome publication, GIRFT implementation, and several others. Regarding the junior doctors dispute, many expressed their support to me for our cause. Several consultants highlighted exemplary ways in which their trust has prepared for the upcoming strike. I was then given the opportunity to present The Lost Tribe national audit to the BOA Council. As one would expect, half were shocked to hear that the junior tier in T&O are being exposed to clinic/theatre rarely in the UK. Others felt that this was the data that was needed to address the growing discontent amongst junior doctors in T&O and it needed acting upon to ensure that training exposure is improved.
An important issue arose regarding the FSSA which is an organisation of representatives from all surgical speciality organisations and royal surgical colleges. The is a move, backed by some within the profession and in the government, to set up a British Surgical Association (BSA) to act as a trade union for surgeons. This is being driven by the ASGBI chair, Mr John Moorhead, who feels that surgeons are poorly represented by the BMA, that doctors should never strike, and want to lead the charge for creating a rival union. I expressed grave concern about this for several reasons. Mainly, the BMA has been very receptive to surgeons in the last 12 months and especially the JDC, where we have had regular communication and opportunity to shape the discussion regarding industrial action. Ultimately, BOTA supports the BMA completely and any chance to divide the profession by the formation of a rival trade union, would not be supported by trainees. I will be writing to the BOA directly to express this view, which was unanimously taken by the BOTA committee.
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