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2019 is the year of the junior doctor. This year, the junior doctor workforce faces challenge after challenge. The 2016 contract review, the DDRB, winter pressures that continue into spring and beyond, training needs, rota gaps, continuous NHS cuts, low morale, bullying and harassment, burnout, substandard pay, a flawed system of exception reporting, and above all, increased risks to the safety of our patients.
Now, more than ever, is the time for junior doctors to come together and make their voice heard as one. The junior doctors conference is the platform for that voice.
Every year junior doctors from across the UK come together. BMA members and non-members, free of charge. They come with the united goal of making their voice heard – and to use that voice to make change.
The junior doctors conference is a one-day annual event where juniors propose, debate and vote on motions that call for action on any aspect of junior doctor life. These motions are submitted by junior doctors prior to the conference, with those of most priority and relevance selected for the final agenda for the conference debate.
Those motions that pass by a majority vote go on to become BMA policy. This policy forms the workplan for the junior doctors committee across the next trade union year. It is the central policy-making body for junior doctors within the BMA, directing the association’s work and focus, and keeping the BMA accountable to its members.
If you haven’t attended before, don’t let that stop you! First-time attendees are a vital presence, bringing fresh perspectives and issues. We strive to make new attendees feel welcome and supported. Newcomers are welcome to a first-time attendees event the day before the conference, where they can join teaching sessions, develop motions that will be debated at conference, and receive speechwriting support and mentoring. You’ll also have the chance to see how conference operates, how voting and procedures work, meet other new attendees and the conference agenda committee.
If you’re new to the junior doctors conference, check out this video showing the journey of a motion becoming BMA policy.
On conference day itself, all attendees – new or returning – can expect full support and guidance from the conference agenda committee and their own regional junior doctors committee, as well as opportunities to speak for and against proposed motions, to vote, and even to stand in elections to be part of next year’s conference agenda committee!
In short, conference is where a single person, a single junior doctor, can come with a motion – an idea – to their union, to act upon something and to change it. Proposed, debated and voted upon.
That is what conference is. Making change. By junior doctors, for junior doctors.
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