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BMA offers private medical insurance to senior staff

Exclusive The BMA has admitted it offers private medical insurance to a small number of ‘very senior staff’ in order to attract suitably experienced employees.

The association confirmed that a small number of senior of staff are offered the optional perk, but said they could not reveal exactly how many staff had accepted the offer, or how much was spent on it annually as this was ‘confidential business information.’

But they did confirm that Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair, does not personally receive this benefit.

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘Private medical insurance has been offered only to the few very senior members of staff as part of their remuneration package. It is an optional benefit.

‘The remuneration package ensures that we are able to continue to attract very senior members of staff by offering benefits that you might expect from similar roles in similar organisations.’

The news comes after Pulse revealed that the GMC spent £255,000 on private medical insurance for almost two thirds of its staff this year, after a review of the policy concluded it was needed to attract and retain quality staff.

NHS England, the CQC and the RCGP told Pulse they do not offer staff such benefits.

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of Sefton LMC, said he was very surprised by the news that the BMA was offering this benefit to staff.

He said: ‘As I recall, the annual conference of LMCs were very scathing of the GMC’s actions. It was not a popular move for the GMC, but the scathing eye of the grassroots conference did obviously not extend its look to the BMA executive as they were lining their back pockets.

‘It’s superficially embarrassing and hypocritical. It would be helpful for them to clarify why, beyond recruitment, this is needed.

‘I don’t want to be represented by an organisation who imply the NHS is a secondary substandard service and we should all go out and buy private medical insurance immediately.’

However, Dr John Grenville, medical secretary of Derbyshire LMC, said this was probably a business decision made to prevent losses through illness

He said: ‘It’s always very difficult. Any business has to make a decision on the cost of this thing versus the cost of people having time off and having to backfill their work, so it must have come down to a purely business decision.

‘As an ordinary member of the BMA I guess it keeps my membership fees down and allows them to continue their services so I will support it on those grounds.’


Readers' comments (8)

  • let's be honest, as doctors we are damn lucky that we aren't flogged daily in the street! We have the privilege of working 12 hour days and sometimes being threatened by patients as well as ridiculed and bullied by the national press and the government. I go home most days amazed at my luck in choosing medicine as a career.

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  • As if we needed further confirmation of what our so-called leaders really think of the NHS.

    This is I am quite sure not even the final insult.

    Worse is yet to come as the morale of the NHS is systematically destroyed by managers and leaders who really belong in the City running the banks.

    Doctors and nurses do not need leaders with 'good media presentation' or 'top management skills'.

    Just people who put the NHS and its patients before their own career interests and are seen to do so.

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  • The next area to explore will be, how many direct NHS employees are also offered this benefit? My guess is - quite a few. So, let's send out FOI request to all UK wide NHS organisations - Trust's, CCG's, ex-PCT's, NHS England, DH, GP surgeries and so on.

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  • Straw poll:
    How many GP's have private medical insurance?
    I do.
    What does that say about me, and about the NHS?

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  • I don't have private insurance. I have strong belief in practicing what I preach, and if I'm telling NHS is good enough for them, it should be good enough for me too.

    I'm thoroughly disgusted by the BMA - they should not be attracting people who doesn't believe in NHS, no matter how "good" they are. I suspect it's the BMA leaders reaping the benefit of our hard earned cashed. I'm glad I'm no longer a member, and will never ever subscribe to this corrupted organization again.

    (p.s. will CQC read this post and shut down BMA?)

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  • First the GMC then the RCGP & now the BMA
    Next would be LMC and who knows CQC might find it difficult to ' recruit' GPS unless private medical insurance is offered?
    I feel all these large organisations use Doctors subscriptions for their good first.
    BMA & RCGP appear to be soft and toothless in fighting this Govt in anything now .
    Do we need to withdraw our membership?

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  • Well well.why has it taken so long for this to be exposed?

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  • so we sit here again watching our money being thrown around and still no one does anything

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