BMA Scotland Announces New Academic Chair

BMA Scotland has announced a new chair of its medical academic staff committee.

Dr Paddy Mark, a Clinical Reader and Honorary Consultant Nephrologist working at the University of Glasgow, has been appointed to this position.

Mark qualified for he profession back in 1999, and his current duties include heading the Renal Research Group at the University of Glasgow.

He is also employed as a Consultant at the Glasgow Renal and Transplant Unit at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow.

Speaking about his elevation to this important position within the British Medical Association, Dr. Mark indicated his pride about the position, but also warned that the NHS in Scotland, and healthcare in general, faced some challenges in the foreseeable future.

“Sco­tland has long maintained an excellent reputation in medical education and research, but recently the committee has become concerned by the possibility of redundancies in some Scottish universities and changes to pensions, both of which could have serious implications for academic medicine in Scotland,” Mark warned.

Following on from these comments, Dr. Mark also indicated that employment issues within the health service could have a serious impact on the future of the NHS.

“The threat of redundancy may have a significantly adverse effect on academic medicine in Scotland by discouraging doctors from seeking academic careers and raise doubts about the value of research and teaching,” Mark opined.

In the meantime, the new head of the BMA body indicated that he would particularly prioritise fighting against any compulsory medical academic job losses, owing to the importance of such positions within the health service.

But he also warned that there is a risk of academics in Scotland being particularly vulnerable to certain legislative issues.

“Medical academics in Scotland will be disproportionately hit by USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme) plans to reduce pension contributions as they have to move to the USS after eight years, whereas those in England can usually choose to stay in the NHS scheme. This represents a major reduction in the remuneration package available to clinical academics in Scotland and would mean they are paid substantially less than their NHS colleagues,” Mark stated.

Concluding his comments on the subject, Mark pointed out that the potential of recruiting academic and healthcare staff within Scotland would be impacted by these issues, and resolved to play his role in having a positive impact on the issue.

“This would be a serious blow to clinicians in Scotland and a disincentive to young people considering an academic role.  In the coming year, the Scottish medical academic staff committee will be pushing for alternative options to be explored to ensure doctors in training are not discouraged from seeking an academic career in Scotland,” Mark concluded.

In addition to the appointment of, Dr Paddy Mark, Dr Rebecca Riddell, a GP and clinical senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, was appointed deputy chair of the committee.

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