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BMA pledges to improve employment support services

Sheffield children’s hospital 20 Oct 2016

The BMA is set to embark on a series of improvements to the employment support services it provides to its members, in line with the recommendations laid out in an independent review.

The association’s UK council has pledged to take forward recommendations and where necessary update services and procedures following the findings of the MSSR (member support services review) into every aspect of our existing employment and legal support provided for BMA members.

MSSR was the most comprehensive review ever carried out of the BMA’s end-to-end support for members facing any employment-related issues, from raising a concern with its call centre through to how it takes legal decisions regarding members’ cases.

The report was commissioned by the council chair and approved by council members. It was carried out by independent, external experts in law, reputation management, and business process analysis and customer service.

It looked at all the policies, procedures, processes and systems in place to support the management of member cases.

This included:

  • Reviewing feedback about the BMA’s employment-related support
  • Sampling the recordings of telephone conversations involving the BMA’s call centre and the feedback about the call centre
  • Reviewing merits assessments by and meetings involving the BMA’s external solicitors
  • A review of some past high-profile cases; an analysis of the services delivered by competitor organisations and relevant comparators
  • Interviews with members, non-members and staff as well as focus group input, including from BAME doctors
  • A large survey and a smaller perception study of members’ views and an analysis of communications and social media activity.

The BMA will use the findings and recommendations of the review to improve the employment and legal support provided to members.

Changes will include:

  • Obtaining independent barristers’ opinions at an earlier stage, particularly in complex cases involving discrimination and whistle blowing
  • Using more experienced call-handling staff to help members who may require more support
  • Using feedback and complaints to improve services and tailor them more closely to the needs of our members
  • Improving staff training to help them better support the diverse nature of the profession
  • Ensuring cultural sensitivity throughout our processes.

MSSR steering group chair John Chisholm said the BMA was now looking to determine how best to implement changes in the long and short term.

He said: ‘The BMA welcomes the findings of this review, which was undertaken to make sure that members receive the highest quality of support on employment-related issues and also when they raise concerns about patient safety or the quality of care in their workplace.

‘I would like to thank all the members and staff who contributed to the review, and the independent reviewers who carried it out. We are looking forward to implementing the recommendations in the weeks and months ahead.’

BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul, who proposed this review, said: ‘Probably the most important reason why doctors become a member of the BMA is to receive support from their trade union when they are facing a difficulty or dispute with their employer.

'Irrespective of whether it is a small contractual issue or a complex discrimination claim, we have a duty of care to our members.

‘We hope that the changes we will be introducing following this review will ensure that we provide the best possible service when doctors turn to us for support in their hour of need.’

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