Occupational medicine committee overview

The OMC (occupational medicine committee) represents doctors who are actively engaged in occupational medicine, working both inside and outside the NHS.

Location: UK
Audience: Occupational health doctors
Updated: Thursday 20 June 2024
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The committee considers and reports on matters affecting the health, safety and welfare of people at work and the practice of occupational medicine in industry and allied occupations.

The committee also advises the BMA on the implementation of health, safety and welfare legislation. Plus other aspects of occupational health as they may affect its members and their working environment.


Our priorities

To get all working people access to occupational health services

Citizens in the UK do not have a right of access to a specialist in occupational medicine on the basis of need (which they do have for all other medical specialties). This is only available where their employer is prepared to pay for a privately provided service.

The OMC have long been lobbying for improved access to occupational health services for all workers and encouraging employers to support people back into work, to work more, and to prevent them falling out of work.

The BMA aims to work with the government to ensure universal access to occupational health through lobbying the GMC and stakeholders on service provisions and safety critical medicals.

Ensuring the future occupational health workforce to enable universal access

There is a dire shortage of specialist occupational physicians, due to an ageing workforce and a clear lack of training opportunities. The occupational medicine workforce has been steadily declining since 2009.

However, as there is no legal obligation on the state or employers, to provide an occupational health service, neither party has an incentive to finance training programmes for occupational health professionals.

We continue to lobby the government to fund training programmes for sufficient occupational health specialists, as it does for all other medical specialties in the UK.


Primary and secondary prevention issues related to COVID 19 have not gone away. The OMC continues to help ensure the best assessment and protection of BMA members from COVID 19 and related risks, and hence to reduce risks to patients and a better service for them.

We are actively contributing to the UK COVID Inquiry to ensure that crucial lessons are learned and implemented. We will continue to feed into the UK COVID Inquiry, and continue work on other relevant aspects of COVID, including documents such as Reducing infection risk in healthcare settings.

Supporting personal injury claims for doctors with long COVID

The OMC is here to support the health, safety and welfare of people at work – including doctors. The committee provided support to our members through the pandemic and now, to continue to promote the health and safety of doctors into the future, we are making available some funds to support long COVID personal injury claims.

The OMC have assisted, via internal BMA structures, to release a new fund to pay towards court fees for doctors (based in any UK nation) to issue personal injury claims related to long COVID, following an initial infection contracted at work. The criteria for consideration is as follows, you must:

  • be a BMA member
  • have had your case assessed by a law firm as having greater than 50% prospects of success 
  • have had after the event insurance requested and denied
  • and there must be a strategic value in the pursuit of the claim.

Please note that we cannot guarantee at this stage that every individual who is eligible will receive funding towards their court fees.

If you think you meet the criteria for this support, please contact us at [email protected]


Claims for doctors with long COVID

Many doctors have been impacted by long covid. In March 2024 a judge ordered that cases involving healthcare workers with long COVID should be brought together and known as “The COVID Healthcare Worker Claims”.  The BMA understands that eligible health workers are required to notify their intention to bring a claim by no later than 5 July 2024. This will require providing detailed information, and members are advised to seek legal representation as soon as possible if they intend to bring a claim. The order only applies to healthcare workers in England and Wales.

The solicitors acting for the healthcare workers in the case which came before the court in March are GA Solicitors.  Bond Turner Solicitors are acting for a number of doctors who are intending to bring claims and have been working with the Long Covid Doctors for Action (LCD4A) campaign & advocacy group. For the avoidance of doubt, the BMA/BMA Law are not acting for any members, and are not in a position to assess the merits of any member’s claim or assess if they are in time to bring a claim. Bond Turner will not represent GPs and we suggest that any GP looking to make a claim seeks the support of another firm.  

In the devolved nations, we understand that the following law firms are acting for healthcare workers: Jackson Boyd in Scotland and Laceys in Northern Ireland.

Details of other law firms can be found here: England & Wales -  Find a Solicitor - The Law Society; Scotland; Northern Ireland


Our work

The OMC is currently developing its positions on a number of key issues, including various aspects concerning the protection and rehabilitation of doctors from COVID-19, the lack of universal access to occupational health services and the dire shortage of specialist occupational physicians in the UK, and on preventing burnout and stress in doctors.


Burnout and recruitment issues

The BMA will work with the GMC to address burnout and recruitment issues among doctors in the NHS workforce via an effective working group set up with the GMC to address the ongoing, pressing concerns of the OMC.


Promoting the specialty

The expertise of specialist occupational physicians is vital to ensuring healthy working environments and staff safety at work.

An important part of our work is to actively promote the occupational medicine specialty with external stakeholders.


​The occupational physician

This guide aims to formalise the guidelines and advice that the BMA has offered to its members, to Government departments and to other organisations on matters affecting occupational health.

Read the occupational physician guide


Our work 2015-2021

​The OMC has written a number of reports including:

Cognitive enhancing drugs and the workplace (2015)

Read our report on healthy individuals using pharmacological cognitive enhancers without a prescription for non-medical purposes. 

Read cognitive enhancers report


Alcohol and drug dependency in the workplace (2016)

Our report aims to provide practical advice to medical professionals, employers and employees to help understand and deal with the effects of alcohol and illicit drugs at work.

Read alcohol workplace report


Ageing and the workplace (2016)

This report was written to meet a clear need expressed by occupational physicians for information to help them deal with questions they face regularly in practice from both employees and employers as a consequence of the UK workforce getting older.

Read ageing workforce report


​Staff screening and treatment after infection outbreaks (2019)

Screening of healthcare workers as part of managing an infection outbreak may occasionally be advised by an OCT (outbreak control team). Our guidance summarises the ethical principles and legal framework that apply.

Read infection outbreaks report


​Rest, recover, report (2021)

The OMC also contributed its expertise to the BMA report: Rest, recover, restore


Our people

Chair: Kathryn McKinnon

Deputy chair: Jamie Fisher



Raymond Agius
Arun Chind
Prosenjit Giri
Karen Pratt
Anne Raynal
Susan Robson


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Our meetings

The OMC meets three times a year to discuss issues of importance to the profession. These meetings are open to committee members only.

Meeting dates:

  • Friday 4 October 2024, hybrid (in-person and online via Microsoft Teams)
  • Friday 10 January 2025, virtual
  • Friday 11 April 2025, virtual

All our meetings take place either virtually or at:

BMA House
Tavistock Square


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 OMC, this is: 

ARM elections
  • Seats/term - every year, elections for four seats on OMC take place for a one-session term.
  • Timeline - the nomination period opens a month before ARM and voting closes a few days after ARM.
  • Eligibility - all BMA members can stand for election but only ARM delegates can vote.

Of the nominees, BMA council elects a further three seats for a one-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.  



Election to OMC is closed.


Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the work of the OMC, email [email protected].

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