BMA FREE (forum for racial and ethnic equality)

Created in response to calls from our members for greater support for doctors and medical students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Location: England
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 22 January 2024
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Purpose and remit of the forum

This national forum, which is supported by regional fora, seeks to:

  • explore and highlight relevant issues and experiences faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors and medical students in their places of work and study
  • act as a consultative forum, by contributing to the BMA’s policy work for members and the wider medical workforce to ensure the Black, Asian and minority ethnic perspective is included
  • act as representatives and advocates for the BMA’s work on improving race equality in medicine
  • review and provide guidance on BMA products and services (such as employment advice) that support Black, Asian and minority ethnic members
  • influence and support external stakeholders to improve support for minority ethnic and IMG (international medical graduates) doctors and students
  • raise the profile of the contribution of Black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors to the NHS and the BMA
  • support the BMA’s efforts to build ethnic diversity in its membership and elected structures
  • help to connect and network with grassroot members, bringing their lived experiences, knowledge, and diverse ideas to the forum and to the wider BMA.


Who can join

BMA FREE is made up of elected representatives from the UK branch of practice committees, UK council, representatives from the devolved nations and regional fora to ensure that we hear from our members across all parts of the BMA about the issues that face them in their places of work and study.


Join your regional forum

Join your regional forum and help us to drive positive change for Black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors.

The networks offer a space for Black, Asian and minority ethnic BMA members to network and support each other, raise issues, and influence how they can be better supported, and influence the BMA’s national policy and campaigning on these issues.

Regional FREEs have hosted guest speakers, organised webinars and even put on conference – their work contributes to the BMA’s commitment to improve and better tailor our member services support to minority ethnic members.

If you would be interested in joining your regional forum, please email your regional coordinator using the details found below:

Region in England

Regional coordinator

Email address

East Midlands Jim Stringer [email protected]
East of England Nigel Mason [email protected]
London James Steen [email protected]
North East Adele Heeley [email protected]
North West Shahnawaz Sadiq [email protected]
South Central Hugh Townsend [email protected]
South East Coast Hugh Townsend [email protected]
South West Abigail Moore [email protected]
West Midlands Melanie Sutton [email protected]
Yorkshire Dominique Sofflet [email protected]

What's happened so far

We have a long history of campaigning for race equality in the medical profession and have actively responded to the disadvantage and discrimination experienced by those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

We have:

  • held a launch event on 26 January 2021, chaired by BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul, with talks from key speakers like Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Doyin Atewologun and Roger Kline
  • called for ending racial harassment in our NHS, which is experienced from the outset of a career in medicine, through our charter against racial harassment in medical schools
  • called on the government in early April 2020 to act on the damaging and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 upon BAME NHS staff, key workers and communities, and we have continued to robustly lobby to protect our ethnic minority members from harm
  • engaged with NHSE WRES (NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard) in October 2021 on the development of its race equality strategy
  • developed buddy and mentoring schemes to help IMGs settle into their roles, in their geographical areas and to adjust to the transition of working in the NHS.


Find out more about the forum in Wales and how you can get involved.

The forum will elect two members to the UK’s BMA FREE on an annual basis, in order to represent the views of members in Wales.

Contact us if you wish to join BMA Welsh FREE.


BMA Scotland race equality forum

If you wish to find out more about getting involved in BMA Scotland race equality forum, please email Scott Anderson.

The forum will elect two members to the UK’s BMA FREE on an annual basis, in order to represent the views of members in Scotland.


Contact us

Should you have any further queries about BMA FREE, please email us.


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