Consultant quits over `Tory dogma'

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The doctors' leader who tried to make peace between the Government and the British Medical Association and was ousted for being too soft is to quit the national health service in protest at NHS changes.

Jeremy Lee-Potter, former chairman of the council of the BMA, is retiring early as consultant haematologist at the Poole Hospital NHS Trust in Dorset.

A Conservative voter, he will mark the occasion with an attack on government policies in which he says Labour is more in tune with the needs of the health service than the Tory party. In an article to be published in the British Medical Association News Review, he will accuse the Government of being doctrinaire and of running a Soviet-style regime.

Dr Lee-Potter said last night: "The Government simply blocks doctors' concerns at every turn. I am retiring early because I am fed up with what is going on. They are driven by dogma more in tune with the eastern bloc . . . For three years I negotiated with the Government. It was just like slipping down a cliff."

In the article, Dr Lee-Potter, 60, always seen as being on the right of medical politics, will say his diplomatic stance was not the right approach and the current chairman, Sandy Macara, is correct in his robust leadership.

Dr Lee-Potter was elected chairman of the BMA in July 1990. It was at the height of the conflict between the association and the Government over health service changes. He said at the time that he was in favour of "jaw-jaw" and not "war-war". But membersfelt he did not put their case strongly enough. At the end of his three-year tenure he was not re-elected.

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