Medical book awards

The BMA medical book awards takes place annually to recognise outstanding contributions to medical literature.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 22 June 2020
BMA library article illustration of a book
Awards are suspended

The awards are currently suspended because of the current COVID-19 health crisis.

Applicants will be updated as soon as possible about changes to the timetable for the 2020 awards.

Prizes are awarded in 20 categories, with an overall BMA Medical book of the year award taken from the category winners.


How to enter


Applications to the 2020 awards are now closed. 

If you have any questions about entry or the awards, please contact Richard Jones in the BMA Library on [email protected] for further information.

Conditions of entry
  1. The awards are open to all publishers of medical and health books except the BMA and BMJ Publishing Group.
  2. All titles must have been published in 2019.
  3. Subsequent editions of titles which have won special awards or category first prizes may not be entered again, although new editions of titles which have been commended or highly commended may be entered.
  4. All titles must be available in the United Kingdom.
  5. All titles must be in English.
  6. Titles must not contain a significant authorial or editorial contribution from a current member of BMA or BMJ staff.
  7. A separate entry form must be completed for each title, including details of its intended readership and educational aims.
  8. Entries may be entered into one category only. The organisers of the awards may reassign entries to more appropriate categories.
  9. Two copies must be submitted of each title.
  10. Entries are not returnable and may be added to the stock of the BMA library or otherwise disposed of.
  11. Publications must be sent to the BMA library at the entrant’s expense.
    The publisher of each winning title and of any title that appears on each short list will receive a PDF certificate and shall be entitled to use the awards result on all advertising and promotional activity.
  12. Additional certificates may be purchased from the BMA.
  13. Texts on nursing or dentistry will not be accepted. Serials are likewise not eligible for entry although annual updates will be considered.

Award categories

  • Anaesthesia - Including anaesthesia of specialties and critical care.
  • Basic and clinical sciences - anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, physical sciences.
  • Basis of medicine - ethics, history of medicine, communication, epidemiology, statistics, writing skills, research practice, dictionaries, directories etc.
  • Cardiology - non-surgical aspects of cardiology.
  • Health and social care - community care, health promotion, health prevention, management, health services, medico-politics, medico-legal medicine, social medicine.
  • Internal medicine - non-surgical aspects of endocrinology, gastroenterology, haematology, dermatology, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, nephrology, urology, ophthalmology etc. General medicine should go in Medicine, Specialist surgical books aspects to go in Surgical specialties.
  • Medicine - general medicine, alternative medicine, diagnosis, nutrition, palliative care, pharmacology, rehabilitation, health care of the elderly.
  • Neurology - non-surgical aspects of neurology.
  • Obstetrics and gynaecology - but books for the general public should go in the Popular medicine category, reproduction medicine, fetal medicine.
  • Oncology - all aspects of oncology and haematological oncology.
  • Paediatrics and adolescent medicine.
  • Pathology and histopathology.
  • Popular medicine - clinical books aimed at the general public. Non-clinical books aimed at the general public go in Basis of medicine.
  • Primary health care - general practice, occupational health.
  • Psychiatry - forensic medicine, substance misuse, mental health, counselling, psychology.
  • Public health - communicable diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and toxicology.
  • Radiology.
  • Surgery - general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, plastic surgery, A&E medicine (surgery of specialties should go with the Surgical Specialties category).
  • Surgical specialties - specialist surgical aspects of the replaced internal medicine categories. 

NB: Texts on nursing or dentistry will not be accepted. Serials are likewise not eligible for entry although annual updates will be considered.

Special award categories

  • BMA student textbook award
  • BMA young authors award
  • BMA council chair's choice
  • BMA president's choice award


How the awards are judged

Our judging panel awards books for their:

  • applicability to audience
  • production quality and originality.

All entries are individually reviewed and appraised by doctors and educators who are interested in medical publishing.

When reviews take place

Preliminary reviewing takes place during March and April. Reviewers are asked to consider accuracy, currency, originality, book production quality and whether the title meets the needs of its audience.

The appraisals and the books themselves are then evaluated by specialist panels in May and June, arriving at short listing recommendations for a winner and highly commended awards in each category. Final judging usually takes place in June.

The judging panel

The panel consists of the BMA Chairman of Council, the President, and the Librarian.

They review the shortlisting panels’ recommendations and select the BMA Medical book of the year.

Apply to be a reviewer

Reviewers are assessed by two simple criteria: length of review and speed. These assessments are used to determine allocations in future years.

Length of review

Excellent: More than 15 sentences (in total) for any of the criteria
Standard: Between five and 15 sentences (in total) for any of the criteria
Poor: No comments or up to five sentences only (in total) for any of the criteria


Excellent: By first deadline given in mail out
Standard: By first reminder deadline
Poor: No response or response only after first reminder deadline

Reviewers are able to keep the books which they appraise.

If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please apply to be a reviewer using the online form.

For more information, please email [email protected]