International committee Blog (a personal view)

I have previously blogged about this committee which meets three times a year.The previous meeting was held on 1 February 2017. This meeting was held at BMA House 25th May, As useful link is to the Chair of IC Blog

A general  update was given by the chair and the new  Head of International and Immigration. The following items were discussed or reports tabled. Most of these have confidential on them so I have gone to open sources that duplicate them


There was an update on Brexit policy activities. Following the decision to leave the EU, the BMA has been lobbying both in the UK and the EU. The Brexit timeline following the announcement of the UK general election on 8th June was detailed with the UK  expected to .leave the UK on March 2019. The terms of reference of the committee will be submitted to ARM. Twenty seven international guests will present at ARM including from China. On line elections will take place in September for Chair and Deputy Chair. It was noted that representatives from other committees are elected at a later date and this was under review. Due to the general election there are no discussions at the moment. EU negotiations are expected to start on 19th June

The European negotiating guideline have been released

EU Brexit Guideline

Other relevant matters discussed or referred to can be found at

Michel Barnier’s speach including health matters

BMA European priorities

Brexit – what it means for the medical profession

BMA manifesto on Brexit

Cavendish Coalitions views on Brexit

Migration Matters Trust Higher Education and the dangers of a hard Brexit

CPME Brexit and the European Medical Profession

BMA policy positions include

  • on EU workers and students in the UK and vice versa in terms of
  • immigration;
  • movement between countries
  • recognition of professional qualifications
  • maintaining safeguards to protect the UK’s science and research base
  • health and safety legislation
  • public health protection and procurement.

There was an issue brought up that if you are paid through an EU body you do not have right to residency. This will be looked into by the secretariat


European Brief

A European Brief was given, this  can be read at

BMA European Brief Apeil 2017

This covers the following

  • Brexit Update
  • MEPs Back Stricter Rules for Medical Devices
  • Policy Options to Tackle Trans Fats
  • European Commission Clarifies Application of Working Time Directive Rules
  • European Doctors Call for the Mandatory Labelling of Alcoholic Drinks
  • Protecting Minors from the Marketing of Alcohol and Unhealthy Food & Drinks


Updates were given on the following European and International Meetings

European Junior Doctors Working Group

A representative attended the EJDr 12th and 13th May. The EJD finances were discussed . They are presently lodged in Germany but are likely to be transferred to Belgium in due course. The BMa has offered to give advice on financial matters. It was noted that in terms of contribution the UK contributes more than Germany.

A statement was passed on pregnancy in Junior Doctors. It was noted that pregnancy provision in Junior Doctors is less than other parts of Europe, particularly Germany.

The EJD still has a decision process in the bye laws in which a single country can veto. This was discussed with some polarised views of EJD.  There was a discussion of where the BMA would be going over the next two years.

Standing Committee of European Doctors CPME

The spring meeting took place 7-8th April 2017

Other info

Letter to the Deans of medical, dental and veterinary schools across Europe

March 2017 Newsletter includes opinion on Brexit by Dr Jacques de Haller, President of CPME


European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS)

The UEMS Spring 2017 Council meeting took place in Tel Aviv, Israel on 27th and 28th April 2017. Discussions included Brexit , finance and governance and the direction of UEMS.

Summary of Decisions made at UEMS Council

A number of statute changes were proposed. The finances are health though the auditors are addressing further issues, Brexit is taking up a lot of work with networking of national associations , jpoint approaches with their respective governments including letters to other countries. There was a general feeling of worry regarding the consequences of Brexit for health and medical researchIMG


European Union of General Practitioners UEMO

UEMO Board Meeting took place in London   26th & 27th May 2017

Mary McCarthy has been elected vice president and gave a report.



The Secretary General of the WMA has a desire that the Declaration of Helsinki upgrade. The meeting in Zambia was in Lusaka.

WMA DECLARATION OF TAIPEI on ethical considerations regarding health databases and biobanks

is accepted by many medical organisations. This is not the case in UK where there is probably a greater concern for the overall community over the right of the individual and does not conform to UK Law. The was some discussion in committee regarding  WMA president Ketan Desai. Further discussion regarding the use of vetting on potential presidential candidates. One of the important features of WMA is of its relationship to the UN

It was noted the BMA ARM 2016 passed the motion

International medical associations

That this meeting calls on the BMA to keep members informed of its activities at the World Medical Association (WMA) by means such as alerts on new developments, providing a link to the WMA website, and reporting on debates at the WMA General Assembly.

And it was discussed that the upgrading of the web site should include relevant WMA information. As an example there are links below to recent WMA news.


22.05.2017 WMA Leader issues warning over violence against physicians and healthcare
16.05.2017 Major end of life conferences organised by World Medical Association
09.05.2017 Physicians Warn Against Neglecting Health in Climate Talks
08.05.2017 Public Consultation opens on WMA Declaration of Geneva
23.04.2017 World Medical Association Council Meeting
21.04.2017 Global Health Leaders Warn over Deteriorating Situation in Venezuela
20.04.2017 Physician Leaders Urge Immediate Release of Jailed Turkish Doctor


Commonwealth Medical Association

An update was given on the relationship with the CMA. There will be further update in October

The CMA focuses on International Health, Global Health and Digital Health. There is a need to engage in policies.

The Columbo Declaration from the last triennial conference can be found at

Columbo Declaration


An Update was given on European Legislation and Initiatives by the BMA European Office


Updates were given on immigration policy and lobbying work, and what the BMA is doing to support international medical graduates (IMGs). The BMA head of engagement and audience, outlined  the activities following the Brexit survey. An enquiries report  and current immigration policy and lobbying activities were discussed.

There was a discussion of what a flexile immigration system would be.

The reasons for being a refugee or seeking asylum are many but include 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.

A document supporting refugee doctors and refugee health was considered. There are 7 new refugee doctors in the refugee doctor initiative. 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.

International development – Fair Trade

There was an Update on fair medical trade activities. There is an intention to identify those Trusts and Procurement bodies that have accepted the BMA Fair Trade policies amd this information to be sent out to Regional Councils , Regional Consultants Committees and GPCs to consider actioning on.

Global health challenges

The BMA is involved in a number of activities that fall under the heading of ‘global health challenges’ these include, but are not restricted to, environment, governance, health promotion, and health security. There was a presentation by Director of UK Health Alliance on Climate Change updating on current activities.

The Alliance, bringing together the UK’s leading medical institutions, seeks to encourage better approaches to tackling climate change that protect and promote public health, whilst reducing the burden on health services. UK health services are currently unprepared for the risks posed by climate change, warns a major new health alliance launching today. Only 18 per cent of clinical commissioning groups and only one third of NHS providers have adequate plans in place to adapt to climate change.

Extreme weather events are becoming more intense and frequent as the climate changes. Flooding and heat waves pose direct risks to people’s health and systemic threats to hospitals and health services.

Measures to improve health outcomes and reduce the financial burden on the NHS include walking or cycling instead of driving, will improve.

The Alliance aims are to:

  • Raise awareness of the risks to health that climate change poses and the benefits that tackling it can bring;
  • Support and enable doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to help the health system respond to climate change;
  • Advocate at a national and international level for a strong policy response to protect and promote public health in tackling climate change, focusing on air quality, cleaner transport, household energy efficiency and sustainable diets.


Useful Links

UK health alliance

Other discussions noted were the following items

  • Championing equality
  • Global health ethical procedure for health
  • Strategy and greater communication
  • Working with other committees
  • Identifying international trends
  • Succession planning
  • Strategic development group threats and priorities

Other documents of interest

Commonwealth Healthhub Preventing Violence