Dr Helen Neary and Dr Shanu Datta elected co-chairs of BMA’s UK consultants committee

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Thursday 6 June 2024
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New co-chairs of the BMA’s consultants committee have been elected.

Dr Helen Neary and Dr Shanu Datta will take up their roles in September, when they take over from current chair Dr Vishal Sharma, who has held the position since 2021.

Dr Neary, a consultant anaesthetist in Liverpool, and Dr Datta, a consultant psychiatrist in Preston, are currently deputy co-chairs for the committee and were elected unopposed.

Mr Mike Henley, Dr Ian Barros D’Sa and Dr Simon Walsh have been elected deputy co-chairs.
Dr Neary said:

“I am thrilled to have been elected as co-chair with Shanu. Vish has done an amazing job in the role over the last three years, leading consultants in England through successful industrial action to secure a pay deal this year, and he hands over a strong foundation for us to now take the baton forwards on the path for pay restoration in England. We know that the job is not finished, and that our consultant colleagues in the devolved nations are at different stages of their disputes.

“There are other challenging issues facing consultants and medicine as a whole which also need our ongoing attention, and we will seek to harness the expertise on the consultants committee to achieve our goal of consultants thriving in their workplace and preventing the de-professionalisation of medicine through the unbridled expansion of the associate workforce.”

Dr Datta said:

“I’m delighted to have been elected with Helen and will be proud to serve alongside the first woman leader of the consultants committee. Helen and I want to be a team within a team, working with our deputy chairs and executive, drawing on the expertise and skills of the wider consultants committee, and listening to and representing the whole consultant workforce.

“It’s been a pleasure to work underneath Vish’s leadership over the past few years, especially in the last 12 months. However, we know that work to restore consultants’ pay and value is far from over, starting with this year’s DDRB process.

“We are also committed to improving the way consultants are represented by the BMA in their workplaces. This means promoting tools like the Consultants Charter to ensure consultants have the best conditions locally, and channelling the momentum we saw during industrial action into more local activism.”

Dr Sharma said:

“Congratulations to Helen and Shanu on their election. I’m proud to have led consultants over the last three years, to have helped them recognise their value and to stand up not only for themselves but for their patients.

"Together, we have made great strides in our journey to fix pay and pensions and I’m immensely grateful to the members of the consultants committee, the amazing BMA staff and the tens of thousands of consultant members who have made this happen.

"There is still more to be done and I know Helen and Shanu will continue this journey when they take over leading the committee in September.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.