I am appalled to hear of the treatment my colleagues describe and of similarly unacceptable behaviours.
I want to say I’m sorry to them, and offer my heartfelt apologies on behalf of the whole association. Abusive behaviour has no place in the BMA and I recognise the courage that it takes to come forward with such allegations and so I thank them for that.
In order to be truly representative we cannot afford to lose valued members as a result of inappropriate behaviour going unchallenged, and ultimately, it will be the profession that loses out if we do.
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Let me be clear – sexist, disrespectful, discriminatory and abusive behaviour will not be tolerated in this association and must be stamped out.
As chair of council I have been clear that the BMA must become a modern, progressive organisation, reflecting the best of society in the 21st century; all members should have equal opportunity to contribute and progress and must be respected without being subject to any degrading experience based on their gender, race, sexuality, age or any other characteristic.
It is vital that we take decisive action to make positive changes. Which is why we will be launching an urgent investigation in response to today’s allegations, and we are reaching out to affected members to invite them to be an integral part of this. We would also ask that any member who feels they have experienced discriminatory or abusive behaviour to contact us.
Going forward, we will be reviewing and identifying additional ways in which members can safely and effectively raise concerns.
These processes must be there to ensure that members feel supported. For those who fail to meet the high standards set by the BMA, they must be dealt with accordingly.
The BMA strives to be a compassionate, respectful and inclusive organisation and if better and more thorough training and education is needed on what is and what is not acceptable behaviour in 2019, that will be provided.
Finally, I would ask all members to reflect carefully on their own behaviour and the way they interact with other people, to ensure that we all live the values that enables a positive culture in the BMA of diversity with equality of opportunity and achievement.