Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer - who co-chaired the 2019 UK LMCs conference in Belfast this week - wrote on Twitter that just before walking onto the stage to lead the event she had been called a 'naughty girl' and a 'little girl' by a 'very senior member of conference'.
"Naughty girl" and "Little girl" ... phrases said to me immediately before I took to the stage to co-chair #LMCConf yesterday by a very senior member of Conference, who perhaps needs to reflect at leisure on the pejorative advice they felt compelled to bestow upon me. https://t.co/89sKvxs811— Katie Bramall-Stainer (@doctor_katie) March 20, 2019
Responding to the message from Dr Bramall-Stainer, GPC sessional subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Norris wrote: 'Sadly at the same event also told I had been "naughty" as feedback from my conference speech from a senior male GPC member.'
Dr Norris added: 'This is not appropriate or professional language to use. None of my male colleagues are spoken to like this.'
The reports of sexist comments drew a furious response from NHS England director of primary care, Kent GP Dr Nikita Kanani, who said: 'This sort of behaviour has to stop. It is not acceptable, we will call it out.'
Let me be clear - this sort of behaviour has to stop.— Dr Nikita Kanani (@NikkiKF) March 21, 2019
Telling me how you are going to penetrate the system has to stop.
Telling me, or my friends, that we are ‘little girls’ of any sort has to stop.
It is not acceptable. We will call it out. https://t.co/exB4eW6z3n
Asked by GPonline to comment on the reports of sexist comments, BMA chief officer Dr Helena McKeown said: 'Any comments BMA, GP committee or LMC members make which fall below the standards we expect and fail to uphold our values, are treated very seriously.
'Whether it is a doctor, or a member of staff, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and be spoken to in an appropriate manner. We have today reminded GP committee UK members of the need to uphold BMA values and reflect on how they speak to colleagues and the language they use. We encourage anyone in the BMA who feels they have been treated or spoken to inappropriately to come forward and receive support from us.'
Scores of GPs took to Twitter to show their support for Dr Bramall-Stainer and Dr Norris, to thank them for speaking out and to criticise the 'shameful' comments. Others highlighted their own similar experiences.