Responding to media reports of sexist and inappropriate behaviour within the BMA and its general practitioners committee (GPC), Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC chair, said:
“I am seriously concerned and saddened to hear my colleagues describe this unacceptable behaviour within GPC and other national GP meetings, and as chair I want to apologise to those who have been hurt by this.
“We cannot tolerate any outdated culture within the BMA, and as chair of GPC I will redouble my efforts to eradicate it in all areas that I can.
“I would personally like to thank the colleagues who spoke out in these articles for having the courage to talk openly about these issues, and giving all of us, including myself as committee chair, an opportunity to learn, act and change.
“Their contribution to GPC and the wider BMA is something I have and continue to value and I am determined to address any behaviours that could lead to us losing the skills and talents of colleagues, as this will be to the detriment of the whole profession.
“I want GPC to be a safe place for all members, who should feel supported, listened to, treated with respect, and be enabled to take as full a role as they want and are able to. As in our wider medical professional life, we must learn from any mistakes and errors so that we give all involved confidence that they don't happen again.
“I recognise that representation across GPC's committees and groups needs to be improved, which is why I commissioned a gender diversity report last year, the recommendations of which, just last week, the UK committee fully agreed to implement. There is though more that needs to be done, which is why I have requested an independent BMA-wide investigation, which will now be launched and which myself and GPC will do everything we can to assist with. This will be an independent, external review so that members have the confidence that we are taking these issues seriously and making the necessary changes in response.
“I would also encourage any of my GPC or LMC colleagues on the receiving end of any abuse, discrimination or inappropriate behaviour to raise this immediately with myself or my GPC England executive colleagues, or my fellow national GPC chairs, or through the BMA centrally1, so that we can deal with each and every incident as quickly as possible.”
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.
- Members who wish to raise concerns can reach the BMA at [email protected]