Shape the BMA’s future

by David Smith

Join the association’s junior members forum to discuss and tackle inequality, careers, stress and more – with the help of distinguished doctors, politicians and authors

Location: UK
Published: Tuesday 8 February 2022
Caring Supportive Collaborative workshop

We all have something we want to change.

Maybe it’s a personal bugbear, such as never having enough milk in the doctors’ mess?

Or something more profound, such as tackling micro-aggressions experienced by LGBTQ+ colleagues?

But we often struggle to find the tools to enable us to spark that change.

The BMA has incredible resources and people to help improve the lives of doctors, medical students and patients in the UK – but for new members, trying to make sense of it all can be daunting. How can you turn your problems into tangible policy that the BMA will act on?

The BMA junior members forum introduces grassroots members to the work of the BMA. It’s a fantastic way to learn how you can become involved in medical activism and shape the BMA’s future – we want to empower members to take a greater role in plotting the course for healthcare in the UK.

We know COVID has highlighted gross inequalities in our country. 

We know that life as a doctor is getting harder by the day, with little sign of substantial improvements on the horizon.

We know many of our members are burnt out and looking for ways to protect themselves, to ensure they can continue working and have a long, fulfilling career in the NHS. 

At JMF 2022 we want to discuss these topics and hear your opinions. An exciting panel discussion will feature Labour MP for Tooting and shadow secretary of state for mental health Rosena Allin-Khan and representatives from Doctors for Extinction Rebellion. We’ll discuss how we can effect a positive change in healthcare, both from inside and outside political structures. 

We are more than simply doctors, and more of us are looking for ways to develop a sustainable portfolio career. Three fantastic speakers have rich careers alongside their medical roles: Ian Williams, GP and comic book illustrator; Shaan Sahota, foundation year 2 and playwright; and Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, gastroenterologist, chef and Masterchef winner 2017. We hope their stories will inspire you to make career choices that will keep you motivated for years to come.

We also have some amazing workshops with information about the work being done by our tenacious branch of practice committees, and about the BMA’s wider work across the healthcare systems of the UK. 

Once all those ideas have been discussed, we’ll ask you to create motions to reflect what you feel the BMA should be doing to make a difference. We will debate these motions to give first-hand experience of how you can channel a desire to make a change into policy to instruct the BMA’s actions. 

The best of these motions will be selected for debate at the BMA annual representative meeting in June, where they may indeed become BMA policy.

As we host one of the BMA’s first face-to-face conferences since 2019, we’re working to provide a safe event. We’re all suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’ – tired of staring at computer screens while longing for the camaraderie and connection that comes from being physically in the room with our colleagues. We want the best of both worlds: a safe environment that allows for the passionate exchange of ideas.

JMF is an important avenue for the BMA to hear the voices of our members. BMA council will receive a post-conference report of the thoughts expressed on the day. It’s incredibly valuable for the council to understand the needs of our grassroots members, so even if your motion isn’t chosen for debate at ARM, be assured that your input will be heard. 

We all have something we want to change. I hope that by attending JMF we can empower, educate and motivate our grassroots members into making those changes.  

David Smith is chair of JMF 2022

JMF took place on 26 - 27 February at BMA House, London