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Dr Hamish Meldrum, a GP from East Yorkshire, has been elected chairman of the BMA council.
Dr Meldrum, who has been chairman of the BMA's general practitioners' committee since 2004, was elected in a three way contest at a meeting of the BMA Council on Thursday (28 June), following the association's annual meeting in Torquay.
He defeated Sam Everington, who has been the acting chairman of council since James Johnson resigned on 25 May 2007, and Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA's ethics committee.
Dr Meldrum takes up the post of chairman immediately and will stand down as the chairman of the general practitioners' committee.
Dr Meldrum said: “I feel very privileged to have been elected chairman of the BMA council. We face a number of serious challenges, of which sorting out the MTAS [Medical Training Application Service] debacle must be a major priority.
“In addition, the SAS [staff and associate specialist] contract has been stalled for far too long; we face the loss of professionally led regulation, a worrying fall in the number of medical academics, and continuing threats to previously agreed contracts for GPs and consultants.
“All this is in the context of uncertainties about the devolution and the future direction of travel for the NHS, including the influence of the private sector. It is my role to ensure the profession remains united and that doctors can be guaranteed the right working conditions that will enable them to continue to provide the best care for their patients.”