HCSA statement on independent report into sexism and harassment within the BMA

HCSA has issued the following statement on the findings of an independent investigation into sexism and sexual harassment at the British Medical Association.

“The findings of an independent investigation by Daphne Romney QC into sexism and sexual harassment at the BMA were shocking to read. Such behaviour is rightly deemed by mainstream society to be intolerable, in no small part due to the campaigning of thousands of women organised within trade unions. That such a backward culture still exists within an organisation seeking to represent the interests of doctors is all the more disturbing.

“HCSA, a Trade Union and Professional Association for all Hospital Doctors, would therefore like to make a clear statement deploring the behaviour reported to have taken place within the BMA and offering our support to its Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul as he strives to tackle the reputation of his organisation as an ‘old boy’s club’.

“While some of the recommendations are already being implemented and the report emphasises that ‘the majority of men in the BMA are neither sexist nor sexual harassers,’ HCSA is nevertheless concerned that these revelations have had a negative impact on the perception of the profession and must be urgently tackled in deed by the BMA.

“With more women than men joining the profession, there is no place for archaic chauvinism and the lurid propositioning of women by men anywhere within the medical landscape, but especially so within those bodies which claim to protect and represent the interests of all doctors.

“HCSA has taken part in the Gender Pay Gap Review alongside the BMA, and we are therefore well aware that there are many people within that organisation committed to a modern, non-discriminatory approach. We trust that their voices shall be heard as it seeks to tackle the very clear issues which exist within its own structures.

“HCSA currently has a female president, Dr Claudia Paoloni, and a female chair, Dr Cindy Horst, and with other female representation on the Executive and union staff continues to fight for gender equality on behalf of all hospital doctors. We shall continue within HCSA to seek to protect the right of all members and staff to thrive in a culture free from sexism and sexual harassment. For us, it is essential that we strive to do as we preach.

“We remain focused on redressing the historic imbalance which means that despite women composing more than half of the medical workforce they remain underrepresented within doctors’ unions. This is an equality imbalance which HCSA is itself acting to correct internally, and we are therefore pleased to continue to welcome increasing numbers of women into our ranks.

“We would be equally pleased to offer any support or advice we can to Dr Nagpaul in his own efforts to deal with the BMA’s very serious problems.”