Help spark change at the junior doctors conference

Our annual conference is an opportunity for all junior doctors to be heard – and to be united by the drive to improve doctors’ working lives

Location: UK
Published: Wednesday 21 February 2024

It’s almost time for the next BMA junior doctors conference, where junior doctors from across the UK come together to set the direction of our committee’s work. By debating motions, conference provides the opportunity for grassroots members’ voices to be heard.

If you had asked me a year ago about what this event involved, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea! Looking back now, after having attended my first conference, this was one of the key events that led to me becoming a BMA representative and empowered me to speak up. Previously, I’d thought that in order to attend the conference you needed to be a BMA representative, which isn’t the case. Any junior doctor member can attend and vote on motions.

Working as a junior doctor, I’ve been frustrated by the endless rotations, the lack of specialty posts, and the high costs of portfolio/specialty examinations – to name a few. I wanted to do something about it. Attending conference helped me to do that. When I initially read through the conference agenda and motions, they were on the exact same issues that I was concerned about.

The conference agenda introduction ended on the statement ‘by junior doctors, and for junior doctors’, and this sentiment shone through the entire two days. For the first time, I felt like I was surrounded by people who felt the same way as I did on key issues affecting doctors. We were all united by our passion for change, to make doctors’ working lives better.

What struck me about this event was that the BMA representatives attending were doctors like me. Listening to the debates, hearing the representatives speak, being able to vote on issues that directly impacted me; this all showed me how I could make my voice heard.

I remember feeling elated when the first motion I had ever voted for passed. It felt like I was fully involved in my union, and that in a small way I was helping to shape the direction of travel for the future. The continued effort in the pay restoration campaign is a prime example of how conference policy is turned into action.

After the conference, I wanted to get more involved in the BMA. I was inspired by how inclusive, welcoming and rewarding the conference was, and wanted to keep the momentum going. Later that same year, I became a BMA representative.

Grassroots members are vitally important, and events like the junior doctors conference showed me that anyone can enact change – anyone can use their voice to speak up for what they believe in. The BMA is your union. Together, we can change the future for the better.

Haseena is a GP registrar