The British Medical Association (BMA) will launch an independent investigation into allegations of sexism and sexual harassment made by several female members of its general practitioners committee.
The promise of an investigation, which the BMA said would be “immediate,” came after two female doctors, Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer and Dr Zoe Norris, writing in GPonline, said that leading women in general practice were “being pushed out by a tide of sexism, bullying and unfair treatment.”
Demanding “an overhaul of BMA culture,” they insisted it was time to expose the “misogynistic behavior” of some of its senior members.
BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul (pictured), said: “I am appalled to hear of the treatment my colleagues describe and of similarly unacceptable behaviours.
“I’m sorry and I 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.”
Insisting the BMA did not want to lose “valued members” by failing to challenge “inappropriate behaviour,” Dr Nagpaul added: “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.”
Earlier this year the pharmacist Hala Jawad, who alleged she had been bullied on social media during last year’s English Pharmacy Board election, called for an independent review to investigate claims of bullying and harassment having been concerned at the length of time the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) took to look into her allegations.
Jawad, who also accused the RPS of a lack of transparency, initially contacted the professional leadership body with her complaints on September 4 last year but it was not until January 30 that it informed her the result of its investigation would not be disclosed to her.
Picture: British Medical Association