Changing our culture at the BMA

We are committed to calling out poor behaviour and addressing all the concerns of our members and staff. Find out what we are doing to evolve and improve our culture.

Location: UK
Audience: Patients and public All doctors
Updated: Wednesday 13 October 2021
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We are committed to addressing the issues raised by all BMA members and staff.

Since the independent review into sexism and sexual harassment in April 2019, we are working hard to implement 31 recommendations put forward by Daphne Romney QC.


What we want to change

Behaviours and working together
  • Every member of the BMA must take responsibility for their behaviour.
  • All doctors are colleagues and should be treated with respect.
  • Respect should be shown by all genders to all genders, which is also the case for those with protected characteristics and political beliefs.
  • Staff are part of the team and as such should be treated with respect.
  • Shouting is never acceptable.
  • Consideration should be given to implementation of best practice for ensuring diversity and gender balance.
Calling out poor behaviour
  • Everyone should call out bad behaviour when they see it.
  • Chairs and committee members should watch for bad behaviour at meetings or delegate it to a relevant person.
  • If a complaint is made it should be dealt with.
  • Staff should be protected and empowered to call out bad behaviour.
  • Staff should be trained to have difficult conversations with doctors and other members of staff.
  • HR policies should be reviewed.
  • Every committee member must undergo training in diversity, equality, anti-bullying, active-bystander and collegiate working.
  • Further mandatory training for committee chairs to develop skills in managing meetings, identifying and dealing with bad behaviour and understanding the principles of fairness and equality in making committee appointments.
  • Committee members should be subject to periodic feedback from members and staff along the lines of a 360 appraisal.
  • Appointment practices should be monitored.
  • Meetings should not take place without everyone eligible to be there being invited and notified.
  • Committee members should be prevented from re-election to that committee after a suggested 12 years and restricted from the number of committees they can sit on.
  • Consideration should be given to introducing multi-member constituencies for regional seats.
  • Consideration should be given to holding meetings around tables, rather than in the council chamber and more break-out groups should be held.
The role of women in the BMA
  • A BMA women’s group should be established to provide a forum to support and mentor each other.
  • Committees should introduce quotas or minimum numbers of women in order to better reflect the percentages of men and women in each branch of practice.
  • Women should be encouraged to stand in elections and reserved seats should be introduced for those who have not previously been elected onto a committee (male or female).
  • Chairs should be encouraged to call more women to speak in committee meetings, and to emulate the example of GPC and JDC in trying to call a woman to speak first.


Complaints and the resolution process
  • All listservers should be effectively monitored by assessors for speedy determination of complaints.
  • Responsibility for the administration of the external complaints process should be moved to the HR department.
  • Adequate support, counselling and protection for complainants should be provided.
  • Resolution panels should be widened to included doctors not on council or regular committees.
  • If a complaint is made about a doctor but is met by a counter-complaint it should still be investigated.
  • A booklet explaining the resolution process should be produced and be easily accessible on the website.
  • If a complainant wishes to remain anonymous enquires in the complaint should still be made as far as possible.
  • Where an anonymous complaint is made it should be pursued only where circumstances appear to merit it.


What’s happened so far

The BMA will continue to support projects and actions that:

  • promote equal rights and opportunities, tackle discrimination or disadvantage and create an open and inclusive culture for our members, employees and stakeholders
  • support committees to be effective, efficient and represent the diversity of our membership
  • enable its democratic structures to reflect the voice and demands of our members at a local, intermediate, national and UK level in line with the association’s strategic priorities.

You can find our more about the BMA’s work to strengthen our culture and embed inclusion in the report.