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Taking charge: BMA launches committee for medical managers

The demise of a medical managers association reduced representation for a group of key healthcare workers. To redress the balance, the BMA has created a committee to support the NHS’s decision makers

Wanted: enthusiastic committed medical managers to help the BMA meet challenges across the health service. If that sounds like you, then you might want to stand for election to the new BMA committee for medical managers.

The CMM has been set up at a time when greater emphasis is being placed on clinical leadership in the NHS — not just in England with the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act, but across the UK. Doctors are also expected to play a part in meeting efficiency savings set for the NHS while innovating and driving up quality across the service.

It is for these reasons that the BMA wanted to give medical managers a new voice. Until now, the estimated 4,000 medical managers in the UK were represented by a subcommittee of the BMA consultants committee that had a mainly secondary care focus.

But the association decided this was too narrow a remit and a new approach was needed, particularly after BAMM (the British Association of Medical Managers) folded in 2010, leaving medical managers with little representation and few fora for debate.

BMA chief executive/secretary Tony Bourne says the establishment of the CMM is ‘an important development for the BMA and the representation of medical managers, who are playing an increasingly vital role in the NHS workforce’.

He adds: ‘Many aspects of the health service are undergoing reform at the moment, not just in England, and there is a growing emphasis on medical leadership and management. The BMA is keen to support doctors who want to step into these roles and use their expertise to inform BMA policy on medical management issues.

‘We want the new committee to represent the full range of medical managers, and hope to give a new voice to this important group of doctors.’

The BMA has already taken a number of steps to support medical managers. Earlier this year, it launched two training courses on medical leadership and management, and currently is piloting a new employment advisory service for medical directors.

Learn to lead

The courses — leading to the Certificate in Medical Leadership and Management and an Award in Medical Leadership and Management — offer an introduction to leadership and managerial skills, using real NHS examples, and provide doctors with a chance to test and develop these skills in practical exercises. The courses reflect the requirements of the five core domains of the NHS Clinical Leadership Competency Framework.

Meanwhile, medical directors can seek tailored advice from the new employer advisory service, developed with BMA regional services. The service offers an objective overview of employment-related matters in the workplace, and will provide support and guidance on dealing with issues including disciplinaries, grievance, redundancy, discrimination, bullying and harassment and job planning.

BMA advisers will provide practical support on dealing with staff matters on the understanding that, in the end, it is the responsibility of the relevant employer to deal with such issues.

So what will the new committee do? It aims to:

  • Represent a broader spread of medical managers across primary and secondary care
  • Reflect the increasingly important role of medical leaders and managers during the current financial crisis
  • Play a greater role in providing representation, support and training for medical managers following the demise of BAMM
  • Work with the FMLM (Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management), which was created in January 2011, as medical management gets closer to becoming fully recognised as a distinct career choice
  • Raise the profile of medical management.

The CMM will report directly to the BMA political board, which oversees and regulates the political (as opposed to the professional) activities of the BMA.

The CMM will not negotiate on terms and conditions of service, which will remain within the remit of the relevant branch of practice committees. However, the BMA has been talking to the FMLM about the possibility of developing model contracts for medical managers.

Other issues that could be tackled include Health and Social Care Act implementation and revalidation. With the latter, many medical managers are likely to have multiple roles in terms of appraising doctors or acting as responsible officers, as well as having to undergo revalidation themselves.

Ultimately, the work of the CMM will be directed by the views and needs of medical managers across the UK. There has never been a more important time for medical managers to get involved with the work of the BMA.

Do you want to be part of the committee?

Doctors with recognised positions within the management structures of healthcare or academic organisations are eligible to stand for election to the BMA committee for medical managers.

There will be 17 committee members, all of whom will be medically qualified:

  • Seven medical managers working in secondary care, including a minimum of two who are fulfilling medical director responsibilities at board level
  • Seven medical managers working in primary care practice, including those working in primary care organisations or within clinical commissioning groups.* This will include a minimum of two with medical director responsibilities at board level
  • One medically qualified manager in community care practice
  • One medically qualified chief executive
  • One medically qualified director of public health or medical manager working predominantly in public health.

Nominations are now open and will close at midday, September 21. The elections will be split by type of medical manager — so those working in primary care, for example, will elect the seven primary care managers. The committee will meet four times a year, with the first meeting scheduled for November.

* A minimum of three seats will be reserved for GPs in this constituency.

Are you a medical manager?

The BMA wants to identify doctors who carry out any kind of management role so that their interests can best be represented and they can vote in the BMA committee for medical managers elections.

The BMA has updated its membership record system so members can record more information relating to their careers. So even if a doctor’s main work is not as a medical manager, but they do have a medical management role, he or she can record this as their second or third position.

Update your details.

The BMA wants to hear the views of medical managers on the issues that matter most — whether these are changes to pensions, government reform or the cuts expected across the NHS. Email.