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
Updated: Friday 28 June 2024
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The armed forces committee (AFC) represents regular, reserve and civilian doctors working for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). We act on behalf of all grades, from medical bursars and cadets through to accredited consultants, GMPs and those working in higher medical management. The committee considers matters relating to the medical branches of the forces, and is dedicated to improving the conditions of the doctors who staff them.

Working on behalf of medical officers and civilians alike, the AFC lobbies on a range of matters impacting armed forces doctors, from pay to pensions to the efficacy of IT. It lobbies for decent pay and terms and conditions, organises an annual conference for members, builds strong working relationships within the MOD and champions the needs of military doctors.


Latest advice:


Junior doctor industrial action

While armed forces doctors cannot take part in industrial action, they will still be impacted. It is important, particularly for trainees, to prioritise patient safety if members are due to work on strike days. Members should be mindful of the medico-legal implications of their actions and must ensure that they continue to work within the limits of their competence and job role to always maintain patient safety.

We would encourage members to continue to exception report where relevant and raise any critical safety issues with the appropriate trust reporting tool. We would also like to remind members that trusts cannot induce last-minute rota or job changes. Despite the pressures of industrial action, trusts should continue to adhere to the six-week notification period prior to significant changes in work patterns. If your trust does not adhere to this requirement, this should be raised with the defence deanery as no significant changes should be made to trainee work patterns without their oversight.

General workplace guidance for DMS consultants during junior doctor industrial action

  • DMS Consultants must continue to report for duty at their normal trust. They should not deliver more than their contracted hours.
  • Annual leave should not be taken unless it was scheduled before IA was announced.
  • Where a request is deemed reasonable, DMS consultants can be requested to undertake different work activity during their time of duty. If there is a reasonable request within the competencies and scope of their job plan, then DMS consultants should comply with the request.
  • Where trusts are uncertain about what DMS personnel can do, they should contact the commanding officer of the individual’s unit who can provide clarity.
  • If DMS staff feel that a request is not reasonable, outside of their competencies or scope of their job plan or involves working for additional hours they should direct their concerns with their Commanding Officer who will engage with Trusts where clarification is required.

If you experience any issues in the lead up to or during industrial action, please contact us.

Alternatively, contact the armed forces committee at [email protected]. We would like to hear from you about your experiences of industrial action.


Our priorities

Representing members across grades and across the services, the AFC is currently working on the following priorities:

Improving armed forces doctors pay and pensions (including making representations to the armed forces review body, lobbying on the daily rate of pay for reservists, and ensuring the McCloud judgement is translated directly into benefits for members)

Updated - the latest BMA and BDA evidence on pay erosion for the armed forces doctors and dentists.

Improving the working conditions of armed forces doctors (including securing improvement to DMS IT system provision and ensuring doctors are represented in the DMS’s transformation programme)

The AFC are also committed to improvement engaged with armed forces doctors: whether they are regulars, reservists or civilians. If you have ideas or questions you would like to share with the committee, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]


Our people

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].


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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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:

  • 1st Meeting – Tuesday 26 September 2023 (virtual)
  • AFC Conference – Tuesday 19 March 2024 (in person)
  • 2nd Meeting – Wednesday 20 March 2024 (in person)
  • 3rd Meeting – Tuesday 11 June 2024 (virtual)

Meetings will run from 09.30 – 13.00

All meetings take place either virtually or at:

BMA House
Tavistock Square

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



The 2024 armed forces conference -'Unlocking potential: military skills in the wider world' took place on Tuesday 19 March 2024.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.


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.  



Nominate yourself to become an AFC representative

Elections are open to BMA members for a two year term on the AFC committee. Seats are listed under the constitution section of this page.

Nominations open – 12pm Tuesday 23 April 2024

Nominations close – 12pm Tuesday 21 May 2024

Voting open – 12pm Thursday 23 May 2024

Voting close – 12pm Thursday 20 June 2024

Nominate yourself now.



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].


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