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Just over a year ago I was moaning about safe staffing levels when a colleague suggested I submit a motion. I sheepishly asked what a motion was...
I’ve since proposed my own motions and debated or voted on hundreds more. I see motions as the catalyst for change; a great way to focus anger, frustration and pain. When a motion is passed or indeed if it falls, the membership is taking action; they have a voice.
A motion is a proposal put to the membership. It highlights an issue, why it is important and action we should take to tackle it. Motions form policy which lead the direction of the BMA.
As an exhausted F1 doctor I found solace in this; maybe it isn’t all futile, maybe we can enact change. I never would have realised this without attending the ‘first-time attendees’ event at the BMA junior doctors conference.
The event is essentially a crash course on motions; the basics are explained and then, in groups, you’re encouraged to turn those burning issues into motions. Everyone is new to the game, and help is on hand as required. At least one of these motions is then selected to enter the debate the following day.
Motions passed at the conference become the policy of the BMA junior doctors committee and must be acted upon. They may then go on to the ARM (annual representative meeting) and, if passed, become BMA-wide policy.
There’s also a demonstration of how the debate works. There’s quite a few nuances that can seem intimidating at first so believe me, this is invaluable. Plus, you find out what the BMA actually does (they don’t just print stickers I promise).
If you’re worried about not knowing anyone, don’t be; there’s a dinner that evening for first-time attendees and it’s impossible to leave without making a few friends.
So, if you’re angry, frustrated, motivated or passionate; get down to this event. Put your questions to the decision makers directly, discover what your peers think - and maybe you’ll be the one to revolutionise the system!
Jennifer Barclay is an F2 doctor in the north-west of England and is a member of JDC
The junior doctors conference 2018 takes place on May 18-19 in Birmingham. Find out more
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