BMA INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
I attended the IC as elected representative of the UK-CC on February 1st 2016. Terms of Reference and membership of the committee can be reviewed in my previous reports or blog. Members of the international committee include the Chair – Terry John , Consultants Committee Representative (me) , Representatives from GPC MASC Board of Science , MEC and ARM and coopted members. Following the Annual representative meeting 2016, the International Committee have been tasked with nine resolutions to take forward for the 2016-2017 committee session.
There was an update on Brexit policy activities. Following the decision to leave the European Union, the BMA has been lobbying both in the UK and the EU. The BMA policy positions on EU workers and students in the UK and vice versa in terms of immigration; movement between countries and recognition of professional qualifications were discussed as was maintaining safeguards to protect the UK’s science and research base; health and safety legislation; and public health protection and procurement. There was a discussion about the Brexit Bill in the Commons and the Lords. An options paper for council in March is in development. EU medical students will have fees protection for at least a year. There was a discussion of the implication of Northern Ireland and Eire with the common border. Some specialties in Derry have cross border patients. There is a risk of healthcare being overlooked. It was agreed that BMA should draw attention to this issue. Concern was raised over Drs and their families particularly GP’s without visas where they will work. There was a discussion of the likely implementation of a common medical exam. It was noted that with the crisis in gp numbers a large number of Polish Doctors. There was a discussion of the use of regional visas but these are seen to not have worked and the doctors do not integrate. There was a discussion on the GMC consultation. It was suggested that lobbying MPs is better than lobbying MEP’s
Immigration Policy, Lobbying and Advice
Inquiries report and consider current immigration policy and lobbying activities were noted. There was some discussion on International medical graduates. There was a discussion of the responses to a questionnaire of International Medical Graduates 29000 responses. Policy win regarding training in the Isle of Man. Problems noted with threshold salaries on Tier 2 if you ar less than full time. NHS Trusts are expected to pay £1000 per year per visa for Doctors. There was a discussion of lack of CRB check in some countries eg Belgium, Croatia ,Finland UAE, India and Hungary. GMC has a “welcome to the UK” and “buddying up” program
Fair Medical Trade
The International Department leads on the campaign to promote ethical procurement in the NHS and other health systems around the world an update was received . The Modern Slaverey Act will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 25th March
Global health challenges
The BMA is involved in a number of activities that fall under the heading of ‘global health challenges’ these include, environment, governance, health promotion, and health security an update was received. Doctors as volunteers poster competion will be seen at ARM. There was a discussion of the need to raise awareness of UN resolution 2286 ? through a campaign or activity. There was a discussion of the International Health partnership group and teaching Aids at low cost and UK Health Alliance on Climate Change
The International Department administers two funds, the Information Fund and the Humanitarian Fund. The BMA Humanitarian Fund is designed to support and encourage the development of new initiatives, to help teams undertaking humanitarian projects. The grants cover incidental costs such as travel and accommodation only. The BMA Information Fund provides health information and educational materials to health-focused organisations in developing countries. An update was given on BMA Information Fund. Projects must have a sustainable impact, offer clear health benefits to the local population, involve at least one current NHS employee
There are many reasons why individuals choose to seek refuge or asylum in the UK including fleeing from armed conflict, or political and social unrest in their country of origin. The health needs of this vulnerable group are complex and diverse, encompassing both physical and mental health. Meeting the health needs of refugees and asylum seekers is an ongoing policy concern for the BMA, and through the Policy Directorate seek to address the challenges regarding access to healthcare and training of frontline health professionals to improve levels of awareness, knowledge and understanding. There was a presentation on refugee health.
Updates were given on the following
- European Legislation and Initiatives update from the BMA European Office
- European Junior Doctors Permanent Working Group (EJD).
- The BMA attended the EJD in Porto on 7th-9th October 2016.The EJD is holding a Board meeting in London on 10-12 March 2017 and the next full meeting is in Amsterdam on 11-13 May 2017.
- CPME (Standing Committee of European Doctors). CPME is the umbrella body for the whole profession at European Union level. It works with the UEMS, UEMO and EJD and meets twice a year. The BMA represents the UK at the CPME and delegates are chosen from amongst International Committee members by the Chair of the Committee and Head of Department. Oral update on CPME policy activities given.
- UEMS (European Union of Medical Specialists). UEMS addresses the quality of specialist care and represents the interests of medical specialists. It has two parts, the Management Council (with representation from the BMA and Royal Colleges) and the Specialist Sections and Boards (with representation from the Royal Colleges. Oral update from Andrew Rowland on UEMS policy activities. UEMO (European Union of General Practitioners),UEMO represents the interests of GPs at the European level. The BMA and Royal College of GPs represent the UK. Oral update on UEMO policy activities given.
- World Medical Association (WMA). The WMA is a confederation of national medical associations worldwide. It promotes co-operation and consensus on professional and ethical issues with meetings held every six months. Oral update from Andrew Dearden given on WMA activities. There are new child protection policies consistent with BMA policies. There are 110 countries represented in the WMA but it was noted that the middle east countries are not represented nor Taiwan or Zimbabwe. There has been a governance review with desire to be more open and transparent. The WMA published now an annual report. It has an international education platform with free education material. BMA contribution is based on membership size. The annual contribution is 0.5 euros per member. There are several countries that are late payers. WMA information will be linked to in the BMA website.
- Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) The CMA is a confederation of national medical associations within the Commonwealth. It aims to assist and strengthen the capacity of its membership to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities and countries. Meetings are held triennially, with the next meeting taking place in 2019. Oral update on CMA engagement.