British Medical Association

The BMA, The British Medical Assocation, is a household name. They are one of the organisations that oversee the medical world in the UK.

Within the BMA, there is the HMSDT, the Hospital Medical Staffs Defence Trust fund. This is a voluntary fund that each doctor can contribute to. This fund is used to support, and fund the defence of, doctors who are being accused of malpractice.

Each month an amount is taken out of each contributing doctor's bank account by Direct Debit.

Laser Byte were one of the first software houses in the world to be BACS authorised to provide software that could be used to submit Direct Debit payments, and was chosen to supply a bespoke system to the BMA.

The Problem:

The BMA operate a fund for doctors who are accused of malpractice, called the Hospital Medical Staffs Defence Trust fund (HMSDT). Each staff member volunarily subscribes to this fund. The preferred and easiest way of taking the money from each staff member was using Bacs Direct Debitting.

However, because the HMSDT was not part of the BMA, it was viewed that the BMA should not provide this service. It was felt that the system should be separate to the BMA, and ideally supplied by an independant organisation. But who could provide what was required? What was required was a bespoke "membership" and DD system.

Laser Byte Ltd were one of the first "micro computer companies", (in 1983 and prior to the PC!), to be authorised by BACS for the submission of direct debit payments from their software. Normally these transactions would be part of a membership system, but we were able to create a bespoke system that managed the contributors (doctors and staff), the amounts to be debitted, and to allow the HMSDT to perform DD runs each month.

The Solution :

Get Laser Byte to use their vast knowledge of Direct Debit and membership systems, coupled to advanced programming tools, to create a system specifically designed for the needs to the HMSDT.

In a way the system was very easy to design, build, test and implement. The information required on each doctor was simple, their ID number, name, address, bank details and the amount they should pay.

From this we designed a database system that performed the monthly Direct Debit run, kept audit trails and reported on what the system had done, along with the appropriate run totals.

The system was very easy to use and continued to be used for over 20 years. Simple software that works!

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