The BMA junior doctors conference is approaching and it is particularly resonating with me this year because this is my first time as part of the CAC (conference agenda committee).
I initially expected this position to offer me professional development, but it has provided so much more! I am not one to be a bystander while I witness challenges that I or my colleagues go through. I was therefore quickly initiating small positive changes in my immediate working environment with the support from the BMA before becoming involved in the CAC.
Rewarding, self-satisfying, feeling heard are only a few words to describe the experience of joining the CAC. I was impressed by the doctors with a zest for positive changes, taking feedback from our BMA members seriously, dedicating our time and engaging in productive discussions to reach decisions in our members' best interests.
Admittedly, joining the CAC was very daunting. I needed to learn new vocabulary – the BMA-slang I call it – and the process of running the CAC, which were eased into me thanks to informal meetings with other CAC members. My fear of being the least significant member was also swiftly dissipated when opinions from each of us were sought equally and taken into consideration.
This year's committee has maintained democracy and transparency at its heart, with the aim of continuous improvement of the conference. Trying to make seat allocations to the conference as democratic as possible, standardising the process of proposing motions across the regions, working with regional chairs to composite and edit motions proposed, and the unprecedented – enabling all junior doctor members to vote for motions to be added to the conference agenda which would be subsequently debated on the conference day – are just a few examples to illustrate this.
Being a regional equalities and diversity officer previously and now part of the CAC, I have further insight into the BMA, its structure, its ethos and particularly its policies, and how changes can be initiated by doctors for doctors.
This conference is the platform where our voices are heard – our participation makes a difference and precipitates positive changes – all while enjoying the company of our colleagues. We look forward to seeing you at the grassroots event on 6 May and at the conference itself on 7 May.
Heerani Woodun is a junior doctors conference agenda committee member and a core surgical trainee year two