If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
It might be a terrible cliché but, at least for the BMA European office, there is no such thing as a typical day or week.
The BMA has had an office in Brussels, home to the majority of the EU institutions, since 1994 when the finalised European Working Time Directive removed any lingering doubts about the impact of EU legislation on the medical profession.
Somewhat ironically, given that the UK’s future in the EU is far from certain, the BMA was the first national medical association — the French and Germans followed — to recognise the need to engage proactively with the EU and open premises in Brussels to spearhead this advocacy.
The office is based about 300 yards from the EP (European Parliament) and has two full-time members of staff working to ensure that members’ views are reflected in the numerous legislative/policy proposals emanating from the EU institutions.
As the working week in Brussels tends to align with the rhythms of the EP, our activities vary immensely from week to week.
In essence, we’re busiest when the MEPs (members of the European Parliament) are scrutinising legislative proposals in Brussels, as we meet to convince them that the proposals should reflect the interests of the UK’s medical profession. Such weeks constitute about three fifths of the EP’s activities and also see us attending numerous related conferences and seminars, run by non-governmental organisations or industry, for intelligence gathering or networking.
Whenever MEPs travel to Strasbourg (don’t ask) to vote on the legislative proposals or are back in their constituencies, we make the most of the relative calm to prepare for the next round of meetings and review those just undertaken. We also meet with colleagues from pan-European organisations, such as the Standing Committee of European Doctors to collate intelligence and assess how this affects our joint lobbying campaigns.
That’s the theory but what about in practice. While we’re experienced EU public affairs professionals, members’ clinical expertise is vital in shaping EU legislation and policy. A combative and particularly well-informed MEP could query our rationale for seeking the regulation of trans fats or the tightening of restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy foods. However, such opposition tends to diffuse quickly when challenged by a practising clinician whose patients’ poor health is a direct result of poor dietary choices.
Consultant nephrologist in Belfast and BMA Northern Ireland council chair John D Woods’ recent trip — during the week beginning 18 April — to Brussels exemplifies what we do.
With the EC (European Commission) developing legislation whose implementation would significantly decrease the incidence of chronic disease, we met with MEPs and EC officials. Drawing on his own clinical experience, Dr Woods reinforced the BMA view that regulatory measures are necessary to prevent chronic diseases and should be developed despite significant opposition from the food and drink industry. The same points were made at the European Kidney Forum — one of many events that accompany MEPs in Brussels — and in direct opposition to suggestions that the ‘voluntary/self-regulatory approach’ provides adequate protection for the population.
The delivery of other key BMA priorities — eg securing the exclusion of the NHS from free trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — were also discussed, with MEPs reiterating their support for the BMA line that they should not support any agreement that prioritises corporate interests over patients’ rights.
Of course, any such action will be dependent on whether or not the UK votes to remain in or to leave the EU. With the former, it would be pretty much business as usual. If the latter, likewise as we would be bound by new legislation up until the moment we left — which could be anything up to 10 years as negotiations would obviously be complex.
The BMA was ahead of the curve when it opened its European office back in 1994 and won’t take its eye of the ball in 2016. European office staff will be at the annual representative meeting in Belfast on 20 to 23 June to discuss how you can help us to make a difference at EU level.
Read more about the EU referendum
Paul Laffin is the BMA's EU public affairs manager
Thanks for sharing the useful and informative posts with us. I like the web content also. Many interested case study you share its all really good.. keep sharing. http://www.dagenham-escort.com
Wow! This could be one of the most useful blogs we have ever come across on thesubject. Actually excellent info! I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort. sites.google.com/.../