The doctors’ annual conference goes online only

by Latifa Patel

A digital first for the BMA: a virtual annual representative meeting – but don’t let that put you off making a stand

Location: UK
Published: Thursday 27 August 2020
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The BMA will host the first ever virtual annual representative meeting in its 188-year long history on Tuesday 15 September 2020.

While it is a large organisation, which is sometimes difficult to navigate, one thing that should remain clear is where you, as a member, stands. If it isn’t, that is a failure on our part and something we are working hard on to get right.

Whatever your background – from student to retired doctor, from trainee to staff grade, public health to academic – there is a place for you. You will find a platform for your voice, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. You will find a committee to take forward your objectives at every level.  Again, if this hasn’t been made clear to you, that is another failure on our part and something else we are working hard on to get right.

Each branch of practice – medical students, junior doctors, staff and associate specialists, general practitioners, consultants, public health and retired members – organises a conference to debate and vote on issues which concern the doctors they represent nationally. 

Your ARM is the largest of the BMA conferences and considers, debates and votes on issues that concern medical students and doctors across the association. This is our main route of forming policy which frames the association’s work for the year ahead.

Ten years ago, I was entirely new to the BMA. I carried a motion from the medical student’s conference through to the ARM and I led the debate about an issue I had tried to action locally. The next year, as part of its policy, the BMA lobbied for this issue to be implemented and it was.

There began my journey with the BMA and that experience is what encouraged me to stand for your deputy chair of the representative body. My sole aim within the BMA now is to represent you, our members.

You – as our 160,000 members – are the BMA’s greatest asset and representing your collective voice is our greatest privilege. While, as a conference of 550 members from all backgrounds, our ARM achieves democracy, we know we can strive for better ways to represent you. And we will.

That is why, despite the uncertain environment we find ourselves in, we have worked hard to ensure our democratic processes continue. Despite this experience being virtual, we are confident that our members will be able to participate in shaping what we do for you. 

If you are not one of the 550 members with an allocated virtual interactive seat, you will still be able to watch the conference live without a login. We encourage you to participate via social media using the hashtag #ARM2020. We would also welcome any feedback following the conference and more importantly we invite you to join our many committees from local to national level.

If you have an issue or concern, get in touch and let your BMA represent you. If you would like to get involved but are unsure of how, get in touch and help us to help you. If you would like us to do something we’re not doing, get in touch and let us know.

Help us to look after you so you can continue to look after your patients. 

Latifa Patel is deputy chair of the BMA representative body and an ST7 paediatric respiratory registrar in north-west England