Doctors begin giving evidence in BMA sexism investigation

Doctors have started giving evidence as part of the investigation into sexism and harassment in the BMA, GPonline has learned.

BMA House (Photo: Malcolm Case Green)
BMA House (Photo: Malcolm Case Green)

Senior women in the BMA's GP committee spoke out in April about their experiences of sexism and sexual harassment within the organisation, forcing the BMA to promise an immediate, independent investigation.

Top barrister Daphne Romney QC was appointed to lead the investigation earlier this month - and doctors have now begun to give evidence in face-to-face and telephone meetings with the lawyer.

The QC has invited doctors wishing to report concerns - both current and former members of the BMA - to contact the investigation by email at dr.investigation@cloisters.com.

Sexism investigation

In a letter sent to BMA members, Ms Romney said: 'I am absolutely committed to a fair, thorough, and independent investigation. I would not have agreed to conduct this investigation had I been asked, or expected, to deliver any pre-ordained outcome, and you can be confident that I will reach my own conclusions and recommend any appropriate step to be taken.’

GPonline reported exclusively on 1 April that senior women GPs had reported being subjected to belittling, crude and sexist comments, being frozen out of meetings or ignored and facing sexual harassment while working within the BMA.

GPC sessional subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Norris and LMC conference chair Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer wrote powerfully on this website about their own experiences - warning that sexism had cost general practice a generation of leaders.

The decision to speak out by two such senior figures in general practice - alongside other colleagues who reported their own experiences - sparked an apology from BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul and the promise of an immediate independent investigation.

Two-month process

The BMA has said it expects the investigation into sexism and harassment will take around two months to complete, and has promised that key findings and recommendations will be published in full.

The investigation will make 'specific recommendations to address sexism or sexual harassment in the BMA' after considering allegations by past and present BMA committee members.

It will assess how past complaints have been handled, look at barriers to reporting concerns, consider 'the current degree of sexism/gender inequality in the BMA' and assess 'organisational or systemic factors' that may have contributed to inequality.

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