The BMA has confirmed that there will be an immediate investigation, run independently of the BMA, into the allegations of sexism and sexual harassment made by several female GP committee members.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“I am appalled to hear of the treatment my colleagues describe and of similarly unacceptable behaviours. I’m sorry and I offer my heartfelt apologies on behalf of the whole association. Abusive behaviour has no place in the BMA and I recognise the courage that it takes to come forward with such allegations and so I thank them for that.
“In order to be truly representative, we cannot afford to lose valued members as a result of inappropriate behaviour going unchallenged, and ultimately, it will be the profession that loses out if we do. Let me be clear – sexist, disrespectful, discriminatory and abusive behaviour will not be tolerated in this association and must be stamped out.
“As chair of council I have been clear that the BMA must become a modern, progressive organisation, reflecting the best of society in the 21st century; all members should have equal opportunity to contribute and progress and must be respected without being subject to any degrading experience based on their gender, race, sexuality, age or any other characteristic.”
With regard to the investigation, Dr Nagpaul said:
“It is essential that we take decisive action to make positive changes. Which is why we are launching an urgent and wholly independent investigation in response to these allegations, and we are reaching out to affected members to invite them to be an integral part of this. We would also ask that any member who feels they have experienced discriminatory or abusive behaviour to contact us1.
“It is vital that all members can have confidence that this investigation will be truly independent and that the recommendations will be implemented in a timely manner. We have also offered the members who have raised concerns through the media the opportunity to discuss these concerns with independent support.
“Going forward, we will be reviewing and identifying additional ways in which members can safely and effectively raise concerns. These processes must be there to ensure that members feel supported. For those who fail to meet the high standards set by the BMA, they must be dealt with accordingly. The BMA strives to be a compassionate, respectful and inclusive organisation and if better and more thorough training and education is needed on what is and what is not acceptable behaviour in 2019, that will be provided.
“Ultimately what is crucial is that there is learning, and the Association puts in place systems that bring out the best of each member to contribute their strengths in a BMA underpinned with equality and diversity.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
1. Members with concerns can reach us at [email protected].
*This statement was updated on 3 April 2019 to reflect details of the investigation.
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