Meeting falls victim to doctors’ strike

The BMA’s fight over the junior doctors’ contract has scuppered one of the year’s biggest private practice events – its annual private practice conference.

It cancelled the 6 April meeting weeks in advance because of a clash with industrial strike action by juniors in England.

There was also concern that going ahead could potentially create ‘difficulties’ for doctors leaving their trusts to attend the conference.

Association leaders feared the annual meeting, covering essential business topics for more than 100 new and established independent practitioner consultants and GPs, would backfire with adverse publicity for its Private Practice Com­mittee and the BMA.

Derek Machin new

Derek Machin

Private Practice Committee chair­man Mr Derek Machin told Ind­ep­endent Practitioner Today: ‘We were very disappointed to have to cancel the private practice conference this year, but when the Junior Doctors Committee ann­oun­ced that it was having industrial action on the same day, it became apparent that the BMA and conference attenders were very likely to be subjected to criticism and we would be handing the Government a club to beat as with.

‘There was also the issue that doctors intending to come to the conference might be put under pressure to remain in their trust.

‘We certainly saw a dramatic fall in attendance at the staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee when their meeting coincided with industrial action.’

Mr Machin said the BMA considered trying to re-arrange the conference for a later date this year, but the short notice and uncertainty of speakers’ availability made that impractical.

He added: ‘We will be having a conference in 2017.’