Hospital Dr News

BMA launches independent investigation into allegations of sexist behaviour

The BMA has launched an independently-run investigation into allegations of sexist behaviour.

Following accusations by female doctors of “institutional sexism” at the union, an immediate investigation has been initiated.

Several female GP committee members at the BMA accused senior male members of sending unsolicited naked pictures and joking about women’s bra sizes.

Medics said they were speaking up as part of the #metoo movement, warning that they had suffered harassment, sexism and discriminatory behaviour which must be stamped out.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said he was “appalled” by the accusations and offered his apologies on behalf of the organisation.

“It is essential that we take decisive action to make positive changes. Which is why we are launching an urgent and wholly independent investigation in response to these 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.

“It is vital that all members can have confidence that this investigation will be truly independent and that the recommendations will be implemented in a timely manner. We have also offered the members who have raised concerns through the media the opportunity to discuss these concerns with independent support.

“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.

“Ultimately what is crucial is that there is learning, and the Association puts in place systems that bring out the best of each member to contribute their strengths in a BMA underpinned with equality and diversity.”

Women on the BMA’s committees said they had been called “naughty girls” and other belittling names, describing incidents in which senior women had been groped and sexually propositioned.

In an article for GP online, two female doctors from the BMA’s GP committee said it was time to “open the lid” on an outdated culture which had forced out many women who should have progressed.

Dr Zoe Norris and Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer said it was time to call out the “misogynistic behaviour” of those leading the profession, recounting a string of incidents.

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