LRC at BMA House
The spring meeting of the London Regional Council took place at BMA House on Tuesday 25th April. 7pm – 9.15 pm In attendance was the chair Dr Gary Marlowe and Secretary Dr Jackie Applebee with the South East Regional BMA Coordinator. Dr Andrew Barton and a total of 10 representatives from branches of practice. I attended as rep for NE&NW London RCC.
The following are my personal notes on the proceedings. I have previously blogged about the role of the London Regional Council and the last meeting of the committee in November (see blog 27th November) together with the LRC open meeting on motions submitted for the Annual General meeting (blog 29th March)
- Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs)
It was noted that Dr Barton is arranging a number of meeting regarding South London STP’s. As noted in my previous blog there have been a number of meetings in each STP area of London organinised by the BMA. Previous blogs have also noted the meeting organised by the North East and North West London Regional Consultants committee in which presentations of the NE & North Central STP’s were given. (see previous blogs). Gary Marlowe pointed out meeting that have taken place at the London Assembly in which he attended as representative of the BMA LRC. The minutes of the London Assembly Health Committee that Gary attended on March 15th can be found at
In particular see the Executive report that details those present
and probably better reading the transcript of discussions including Gary Marlowe’s contributions
- Changes to the structure of the BMA
The Chair of the BMA organising committee gave a wide ranging review of proposed changes to the structure to the BMA which will have to be endorsed by this years ARM to take effect from 2018
The mandate to effect change
The proposed changes to BMA council
The need for a better voice for BMA membership
The Royal Society of Arts were commissioned to review BMA structures looking at regional councils etc. The RSA have done similar reviews for other unions. Jobbing members it seem do not know what goes on in the BMA. The BMA Council agreed changes (at its March 2017 meeting) that address the imbalances on UK Council – namely, representation of women, certain Branches of Practice, English regions and devolved nations. The new council would be from 2018 – 2022 for new council. If accepted the current 35 members would expand to 60. This would include propose regional seats, branch of practice and UK seats. The Chair of Council would still elected by Council and the Treasurer elected by ARM. There is no change in ex officio members (eg chairs of branch of practice committees). There may also be gender constraints in elections where any one gender cannot have more than x% of positions (this is likely to be debated at ARM if the initial changes are accepted)
Currently about 40% of BMA divisions are dormant as treasury chair and secretary are required but there is no expectation of removing or changing divisions. Regional councils should do more. Regional councils vary with not a lot of engagement with other members or knowledge of what their function is.
There is a need for a local point of contact and promotion of local events with more information of how to get involved. There is a need to strengthen and develop regional and national council with a more defined with better coordination of roles and function amd better funded chair and offices with appropriate staff support. Member engagement and support requires different approaches in different areas. The aim of the local engagement projects is to enhance BMA visibility locally and in the workplace, facilitate local involvement and deliver new ways of communication with and between members whilst looking at both regionalisation and localisation. Two local engagement trials have taken place within the West of Scotland and the South West of England and have added a new area in the West Midlands. The trials have cost £660k and end in December 2017
In those pilot areas 4000 members have attended an event and over 4000 engaged in non BMA local events and the lapsed rate has gone down. Local visibility has increased from 20% to 69% and the net promotor score is +3 compared with -8 UK wide . (Five years ago the BMA had a NPS of -35). Regarding member voice and democratic structures there are a number of work streams addressing the following
- About 790 policies are submitted by regional councils or divisions to ARM conference of which only about 8% are debated
- Is there a need for more open policy making
Structure and process
- Electronic nomination and voting is being introduced at ARM
- There is a need for greater engagement in the workplace
Local trials (aims)
- How members engage
- The retention of members
- Greater involvement of local organisers
- This would be in addition to and supporting regional co-ordinators
- Local officers would take away work from IROs so they can spend more time fighting for members
- Involvement of “Local Liason Volunteers” with a remit spanning LNCs and Divisions. Signposting in various ways local reps not in casework but also to help organise locally
- In the pilot area many of these LLVs were not involved with the BMA before
The Member voice and democratic structures can be viewed at
- Annual Representation Meeting Bournmouth
It was noted the Agenda should come out May 26th. The LRC has submitted a large number of motions and we must await which one are likely to be debated. LRC have 14 seats taken at LRM though a number of LRC members are also going through other allocations. In the event of a motion being accepted for debate where the LRC member is not present that member will give a brief for the Chair to decide who will propose. Some form of social event at lunch time at ARMwas discussed for LRC to meet London members particulalry division officers. This should not clash with other events
- Attendance at LRC committee meetings
There was a discussed about those not attending LRC regularly. In the terms of reference there is no means of asking these people to stand down if the ToR was to include this it would have to go through the organising committee. It was agreed though that the complete list of representatives with their attendance record for the year would be available at the Annual Business Meeting.
- Doctors of the World
There was a discussion of the Doctors of the World organisation and the apparent use of health data by HMG. See https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/
It was pointed out this was a news item in the BMJ
It was accepted that other than pointing this article out to members the BMA has no other role until full legal opinion is given.
- General Election
With the short timescale of the upcoming election it has been decide the hustings that took place before the last election would not occur.
There is however a need to inform through a number of means
- Monthly newsletter is due out
- There will be briefing regarding STPs include candidates and clinicians
- Blogging from various sources
- Involvement with other unions
- Discussions with Chairs of Division
- Discuss with member the effect of Brexit
Other news items
BMA Article on NHS Delivery Plan
NHS England Delivery plan explained in the Guardian article
as seen on NHSE
INFO FROM BMA COMMS
In a blog for HuffPost, Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya recounts his time training at Northampton General hospital, the setting of Channel 4’s hospital documentary Confessions of a Junior Doctor and how the NHS is still under unprecedented pressure and is failing to keep up with demand.
He wrote: “Concerns raised last year by junior doctors around patient safety, workload and morale were repeatedly ignored by the government. The result is an NHS that is now at breaking point with the health service having just experienced one of the worst winters on record.”
BMA representative Dr Melody Redman wrote an article for The Yorkshire Post about her sister’s experience as an A&E patient and how, despite the hard work of NHS staff, she worries about the stability of the health service as it becomes increasingly hard to manage.
As she writes, “With the BMA warning that the NHS is at breaking point, increased investment is needed to achieve this; doctors and healthcare workers have long called for sustainable solutions for which long-term cross-party co-operation is vital.”.
Last night, BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter responded to Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth’s speech on the NHS. Dr Porter said: “NHS staff will be encouraged by this understanding of the damaging impact on their morale from the years of real terms pay cuts and ongoing pay restraint that have led to vacant posts, understaffing and rota gaps.”
The House of Commons education committee yesterday published a report on Brexit and the impact it will have on higher education. One of the report’s key recommendations is university staff from EU countries should be guaranteed a right to stay and work in the UK after Brexit to avoid a “damaging brain drain”. In response, MSC co-chair Harrison Carter emphasised medical students’ leading role in the UK’s world-renowned medical education which must be protected following Brexit.
You can read the press release in full here.
The Daily Mail reports on the second episode of Channel 4’s hospital documentary Confessions of a Junior Doctor and how the pressure junior doctors are under could see them make critical errors in trying circumstances.
Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya – Politicians ignore the NHS at their peril
HuffPost, Tuesday 25 April 2017, (Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya)
Dr Melody Redman: My sister is on the mend, but the NHS still needs fixing
The Yorkshire Post, Wednesday 26 April 2017, (Dr Melody Redman)
Junior doctors’ critical errors while under extreme pressure to free up beds in revealing TV documentary
The Daily Mail, Tuesday 25 April 2017, (BMA mention)
Mental health care cuts in England ‘to total £4.5m’
BBC News Online Liverpool, Tuesday 25 April 2017, (Dr Chaand Nagpaul)