The British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association (PMSA) by Sir Charles Hastings on 19 July 1832 at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary.This is now the site of the University of Worcester's City Campus. An audience of 50 doctors was present to hear Hastings propose the inauguration of an Association both friendly and scientific for the sharing of knowledge between doctors. Ten years after its initial meeting the association’s membership had grown to 1350 and it had begun to publish a weekly journal, The Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal, known from 1857 as the British Medical Journal or BMJ. The association’s membership grew rapidly and in 1853 the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association extended its membership to London doctors and became the British Medical Association in 1856. Medical students have been admitted from the late 1970s onwards.
Although not initially formed with the aim of initiating medical reform, the BMA played a key role in the drafting and passing of the Medical Act 1858, which established the General Medical Council and set a standard for qualified and unqualified doctors and established a system of professional regulation. Prior to this anyone, qualified or not, could practice as a doctor. This also positioned the BMA to play a major role in future medical politics, campaigning on issues such as Poor Law Medicine, quackery, public health, alternative and military medicine, and contract practice. During this time one of the most active and influential of the association’s bodies was the Parliamentary Bills Committee, formed in 1863 to take a leading role in influencing legislation on public health matters.
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