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Postal loans service


Due to the closure of our Reading Room facilities - and all Library staff now needing to work from home - as part of the BMA's response to the escalating COVID-19 situtation, our Postal Loans Services is suspended until further notice.
We apologise for any convenience caused to BMA members.
If you already have items on loan from us, please hold onto them and do not attempt to return them to us,
even if they are overdue or have been requested by other BMA members.

Although we are based in central London, we aim to provide for the information needs of all BMA members throughout the whole of the UK. In order to achieve this aim we operate a postal loans service where any member can request a book or DVD from our collection and we will cover the cost of posting it out to them wherever they are located.

You can borrow a maximum number of 15 books at the same time.

Read more to find out how you can take advantage of this service.

  • How to request items

    Books and DVDs can be requested from us in a variety of ways:

    • Sign in to our online catalogue at Use your BMA website username and password before searching for the items you want, then click the ‘request’ buttons beside each of the items you want to borrow
    • By telephone on 020 7383 6625
    • By email at [email protected] 
  • How items are sent

    Unless you specify otherwise, we post out the items that you request to the default contact address that the BMA Membership Department has for you.

    This is the address where your copy of the BMJ or BMJ Student is sent.

    If you would like your items sent to a different address please provide this when you make your request. We can register an ongoing alternative delivery address for your loan requests (e.g. a term-time address for student members or a work address for qualified members).

    Please include a ‘use until date’ when you provide us with an alternative address so that we will know exactly how long to keep using it for.

    If the items that you request from us weigh less than 1.5kg we will send them to you by Royal Mail first class post.

    If the items are over this weight we will send them to you using a courier service.

    NB A signature will be required for courier deliveries so please contact us if a particular weekday is more convenient.

    Please allow 3 working days for delivery of any items sent to you by courier.

  • How long you can keep items

    Regular Loan Books

    These books have a 3 month loan period. These books can be renewed up to three times, provided no one else has requested them. 

    If another member requests a regular loan book that is currently on loan to you the loan period may be shortened but you are guaranteed the item for at least one month. If this happens you will need to return the book to us by the new due date and you will receive an email to notify you of this change.


    Short Loan Books

    These books have a 21 day loan period. These books can be renewed up to three times, provided no one else has requested them. If another member requests a short loan book that is currently on loan to you it will not be possible to renew it, and you will need to return it by the current due date.

  • How to renew your loans

    You can renew your loans (provided they have not been requested by another BMA member) in three ways:

    Via our online catalogue

    • Simply go to our online catalogue -
    • Sign in with your BMA website username and password
    • Click on the My Library button, followed by the Loans button, to view your loans
    • Then use either the Renew selected or Renew all buttons (in the right hand side box) as appropriate to renew the items that you wish to extend the loan of

    By Telephone

    Call us on 020 7383 6625 during our opening hours. Please have your BMA membership number to hand so that we are able to quickly find and access your borrower record in order to renew your loans.

    By email

    Send an email to [email protected], including your BMA membership number, asking for your loans to be renewed.
    We will reply to let you know that either your loans could be renewed and what the new due dates are or that they can't be renewed and the reason why.

  • What happens if you don't return or renew loans by the due date

    If you do not return or renew a book/DVD by the due date you will receive an overdue notice via email. All you need to do in response to this is either renew the loan (if this possible) or return the item.

    If you fail to respond to this first overdue notice, we will continue sending you overdue notices at regular intervals. If you fail to respond to the 4th overdue notice (a letter) we will then issue you with an invoice for the replacement cost of the item. If you return the item promptly then the invoice will be cancelled. If you do not return the item or contact us within 30 days of the invoice being issued your borrowing rights will be suspended.

    Please make sure that the contact email address that you have provided to the BMA is correct and one that you check regularly, as this is the main channel of communication that we use for messages about your loans.

    To prevent emails we send you from going to your spam folder please add our email address [email protected] to your email contacts list.

  • How to return items

    Each book/DVD comes with a return address label.

    For student members, foundation doctors (FY1 and FY2), and those registered with the BMA's Refugee Doctor Initiative, this is a reply paid label so posting items back to us is free.

    Qualified members of the BMA who have completed their foundation years training get a standard return address label and need to pay the return postage costs themselves.

    We recommend to all members that they get a 'proof of postage' certificate when sending books back to us. 

    You can get these free at any Post Office. (You will be liable to pay for the replacement cost of any books that are lost in the mail on their return to us if you do not have a 'proof of postage' certificate.)

    You can also return books at BMA House, even when the library is closed.

    We have a Book Return Box which is located just inside the Security Lodge entrance at BMA House.

    The Security Lodge is staffed around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so books can be returned via this method at any time.

    Tavistock entrance, 16x9
Front of BMA house and map

    Any books placed in the Book Return Box are collected by Library staff the morning of the next working day and are immediately discharged from your borrower record.

    If you have any queries about using the Book Return Box or any other issue concerning the return of books please telephone us on 020 7383 6625 or email us at [email protected].