Armed forces committee overview

The AFC (armed forces committee) represents the interests of all BMA member doctors in the armed forces.

Location: UK
Audience: Armed forces doctors
Last reviewed: 1 July 2022
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​The AFC (armed forces committee) represents the serving doctors and civilian doctors in the armed forces and the reserve armed forces. The committee considers matters relating to the medical branches of these forces, to ensure that medical officers are not disadvantaged in relation to their civilian and military counterparts.

The committee:

  • produces evidence to ensure members are compensated fairly
  • organises an annual conference for members based on a particular theme
  • lobbies ministers, MPs, peers and the press on issues of concern to armed forces doctors
  • builds a strong working relationship with the surgeon general's department
  • represents civilian doctors working for the defence medical services (elected negotiators meet with the Ministry of Defence biannually).

 

Our priorities

IT systems

The AFC has been lobbying for an up-to-date IT system that's fit for purpose and benefits both colleagues and patients. Some actions that are being taken by the AFC include:

  • working with the director general’s department on resolutions to the ongoing IT failures experienced by armed forces doctors
  • assisting with the improvements to the military IT systems reporting facility
  • reporting IT failures through designated reporting channels.

Supporting CMPs (civilian medical practitioners)

There are several objectives to supporting CMPs and these are focused on:

  • CMPs undertaking senior medical responsibilities
  • out-of-hours terms and conditions for overseas CMPs
  • pay and contracts
  • nurse practitioner pay
  • trade union recognition.

Supporting reservists

The AFC has been lobbying to reform the way the daily rate of pay is calculated for reserves, to help increase recruitment and retention.

Pensions

It’s important armed forces doctors are supported and receive their appropriate pension entitlement. To achieve this, the AFC will collaborate with a working group on member pension issues, clarify issues around annual and lifetime allowances, and seek external guidance on pension issues for forces members.

​Supporting junior doctors in the armed forces

The two main priorities in supporting junior doctors is to encourage exception reporting and to support FY2 doctors completing A&E placements, ensuring they receive the correct training and support.

 

Our people

Chair: Col Mark Weir
Deputy chair: Dr Grant Dex

Members of the armed forces in the UK pay a concessional rate on their BMA membership. To take advantage of this rate, please update your BMA details online. If you have any questions about your membership, please email [email protected].

Constitution

Members ex officio

  • The armed forces representative on council, if not otherwise a member.
  • A representative from the Ministry of Defence, as adviser and without the right to vote.

Members elected or appointed by the representative body

Two (to sit on the committee for two BMA sessions) who are serving officers, reservists, or former regular officers, of which only one may be retired from the service. Those who were conscripted into the armed forces under the terms of national service may not stand for election to the armed forces committee.

Members elected or appointed by council

Two (to sit on the committee for two BMA sessions) who are serving officers, reservists, or former regular officers, of which only one may be retired from the service. Those who were conscripted into the armed forces under the terms of national service may not stand for election to the armed forces committee.

Otherwise elected or appointed

  • All members elected and/or appointed under this section will sit on the committee for a term of two BMA sessions.
  • Two appointed by the British Dental Association.
  • Eight regular officers elected by all serving BMA members (at least one from each service, at least one to be a hospital consultant, at least one to be a general practitioner and at least two trainees).
  • Three reserve officers, one from each of the three branches of the armed forces, elected by BMA members in the reserve services.
  • One elected representative of all civilian doctors employed by the Ministry of Defence.
  • One medical student.
  • The armed forces representative on the registrars subcommittee of the general practitioners committee.
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Develop your skills as a committee member

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  • break down equality and inclusion bias (CPD-accredited)
  • value difference and inclusivity
  • live our BMA behaviour principles.
Find out more

Our meetings

The AFC meets three times a year to discuss the latest issues affecting doctors employed in the armed forces. Only committee members may vote at meetings; however, BMA members and non-members are welcome to attend via the BMA committee visitors scheme

Meeting dates:

  • Tuesday 9 November 2021
  • Tuesday 8 February 2022
  • Tuesday 10 May 2022
  • Wednesday 30 March 2021 - AFC conference

All meetings take place either virtually or at:

BMA House
Tavistock Square
London
WC1H 9JP

If you would like to attend a meeting, register your interest by email us at [email protected].

 

Conference

The armed forces conference due to be held on Wednesday 30 March 2022 has been cancelled.

Contact BMA conference unit at [email protected] for further information. 

 

How to join

There are many advantages to becoming involved in our committees. You can actively influence BMA policy-making and negotiations, represent your colleagues' voices and develop your leadership skills. 

Each committee has a few routes to becoming an elected member. In the case of the Armed forces committee, these are:

Regional elections
  • Seats/term - every two years, elections for 15 seats on AFC take place for a two-session term.
  • Timeline - elections usually take place in June/July.
  • Eligibility - all armed forces doctors who are BMA members and fulfil the criteria for the specific seat are eligible to stand and vote. The criteria will be specified in the section below when elections are open. 
ARM elections
  • Seats/term - every two years, elections for two seats on AFC take place for a two-session term.
  • Timeline - the nomination period opens a month before ARM, and voting closes a few days after ARM.
  • Eligibility - all UK armed forces doctors who are BMA members can stand for election but only ARM delegates can vote.

Of the nominees, BMA Council elects a further two seats for a two-session term.

The election section below is kept up to date with details about any running elections, so make sure you keep checking it throughout the year.  

 

Elections

Direct elections

The AFC is holding elections for the following seats for a two year team:

  • 8 seats - regular officers elected by regular officer BMA members. There shall be at least one representative of each service
  • 4 seats - reserve officers elected by BMA members in the reserve services. No more than two from any service
  • 4 seats - elected representatives of civilian doctors employed or otherwise by the MOD elected by BMA civilian members. One shall be a civilian consultant.
  • 1 seat - medical student, elected by medical students, who is serving as a regular or reserve (including through university units) or otherwise has a strong affiliation with the armed forces (at the discretion of the AFC).
  • 1 seat - representative of members retired from service. A minimum of three years as a medical officer shall have been served

Eligibility

To stand or vote in this election, you must:

  • be a doctor who meets the criteria above
  • have a BMA online account.

Nominations and casting your vote

  • Nominations - from 12pm on Friday 1 July 2022 to 12pm on Friday 29 July 2022.
  • Ballot - from 12pm on Monday 1 August 2022 to 12pm on Monday 29 August 2022.

Read our guide on how to use our online system for elections

Take part in the election

Results

Results will be announced on Tuesday 30 August on the election portal.

If you have any questions about these elections, please email [email protected]

 

Get in touch

If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about the work of the AFC, please contact [email protected].