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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- We have set up an independent 24-hour support telephone line.
- A new independent complaint investigation process has been established.
- We have begun the process of appointing an independent guardian of safe working.
Henrietta Hughes, National Freedom to Speak Up Guardian for the NHS in England met with the board on 20 November 2019 to discuss her role in overseeing guardians in arm’s length bodies, the NHS and the independent sector across England.
The BMA will be working closely with Dr Hughes and her team to learn best practice and improve the BMA's systems as we introduce our own guardian of safe working.
Code of conduct support line
- Phone: 033 3212 3618
Raise any concerns about the conduct of BMA members when they are representing the BMA or in the course of BMA business through the BMA Code of Conduct Support Line.
This is a free, 24-hour service for BMA members that provides support and guidance in dealing with their concerns and the impact of behaviours.