The role of the doctor in the future

A BMA project looking at how the doctor's role is evolving and the future of doctors, including report and video of discussions.​

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Tuesday 27 April 2021
NHS Structure Article Illustration

With rising demand in a fast-changing environment, we want to start a conversation about the role of doctors.

We invited a range of doctors, policymakers and patients to a range of events to talk about some of the questions involved.

The project looked at how social and technical changes might affect doctors' day to day jobs, professional values and the doctor-patient relationship in the future.


The future of doctors

The changing face of medicine and the role of doctors in the future report draws together the themes and ideas discussed at the event.

Watch attendees talk about the ideas

Changing face of medicine and role of doctors 2017 YouTube thumbnail
The changing face of medicine and the role of doctors in the future

The role of the doctor events

We held a series of small, roundtable discussions. Each meeting had open discussions on the current situation, followed by a look at future scenarios.

An international event was held at BMA House. Presenters included Professor Raphael Bengoa, Professor David Hunter and Jocelyn Cornwell. There were panel discussions with international guests from national medical associations.

The roundtables and the event brought about discussion on a broad range of themes:

  • the morale and wellbeing of doctors
  • how new technology can transform healthcare
  • the evolving nature of the doctor-patient relationship
  • medical education and training
  • medical leadership.


Medicine's social contract

In medicine, a 'social contract' exists between patients, government and healthcare staff.

The contract between all three is key. But, as it is unspoken, expectations and roles need to be evaluated over time.

In 2019, BMA president Dinesh Bhugra launched a project to explore this contract; looking at the key challenges and what needs to happen for it to work well.