BMA membership surpasses 173,000

by Tim Tonkin

Surge to join association made up of doctors in training angry with their working conditions 

Location: England
Published: Thursday 17 November 2022
BMA House courtyard at dusk

BMA membership has hit an historic all-time high, with more than 5,000 junior doctors joining the association in recent years, latest figures have revealed.

Total membership of the BMA now stands at 173,000 at the end of October, exceeding the previous record high of 171,465 set back in April 2016. This stretches across England as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The surge in new members has been overwhelmingly driven by applications from doctors in training, with the number of junior doctors in England who are BMA members now standing at 46,186 as of 30 September this year. 

The spike in membership comes as the BMA junior doctors committee prepares to ballot its members on industrial action on 9 January, following the Government’s refusal to engage with the association about junior doctor pay restoration.

Welcoming the record-breaking membership numbers, BMA council deputy chair Emma Runswick said that doctors’ eagerness to join was a powerful endorsement of the BMA and the new strategy of the association.


Clear message

She added that the increase in membership sent a clear message to employers and the Government that doctors across all parts of the NHS stand together as one profession.

She said: ‘With BMA membership now at the highest level in the association’s 190-year history, doctors have sent a powerful and unequivocal message to the Government as to our unity and determination.

‘As juniors doctors in England prepare for the possibility of industrial action over pay and working conditions, it is heartening to see the extent to which doctors are organising together and recruiting their colleagues to enable us to win change for doctors and medical students.

‘I want to acknowledge the trust and commitment demonstrated by thousands of you who are new or returning members. We are building a BMA that can fight with you for your rights, interests and the wellbeing of doctors and students across the UK.’

More information on the BMA and how to become a member