President's view: BMA sexism findings are a lesson to all of us

It is with no great pleasure that HCSA felt the need to respond publicly to revelations of sexism and sexual harassment within the BMA which have exposed an archaic culture in some corners of that association.

We felt it necessary to speak out on the issue to underline HCSA’s commitment to advancing a positive culture that defends the dignity of all and equality of representation.

Both our top positions are occupied by women: by myself as president and our chair Dr Cindy Horst. I see HCSA as a forward-looking, modern organisation and welcome the increasing numbers of women who have opted for us as their “union of choice”.

Yet I am under no illusion that the problems exposed by Daphne Romney QC’s independent investigation (PDF)  into the BMA are unique to that organisation, and they are indeed an issue faced by many of our members at work and in wider society. No organisation, HCSA included, is automatically immune. As HCSA members we must strive to do as we preach, and call out unacceptable behaviour wherever we see it.

It must also be said that there is some way to go to ensure that the membership of HCSA fully reflects the growing female proportion of the medical workforce.

Indeed, if you are a woman hospital doctor reading this message who is not an HCSA member, I encourage you to consider joining HCSA and help to continue to shape us as a modern specialist union and association that reflects our profession.

Speak up on pensions taxation crisis

Over the weekend several hundred of you have already given your view via our survey on the pensions flexibilities being proposed by the government - flexibilities which it argues will resolve the crisis the current taxation system is creating in delivery of care.

I encourage you to check your inboxes for the survey invite - a reminder will be sent tomorrow. HCSA is at its best when it is able to represent the collective views of its members. Your responses will underpin our own consultation response.

The full consultation document is available on the DoHSC website.

Council elections 2020 - build a stronger HCSA

After 200 days as HCSA president, I am pleased with the progress we are making. We continue to look to the organisation’s future growth, and have been busy over the past couple of months seeking to raise awareness of HCSA at medical freshers fairs.

In coming months we shall be embarking on the important process of seeking a new Council for the next four-year term starting in April.

As the HCSA has grown as an organisation, greater involvement of Council members in the regions and nations is becoming ever more essential. We are therefore re-examining the role and drawing up a new Council member development programme.

Watch out for more information in the next couple of months.