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BMA calls for equal treatment for mental and physical ill health



Doctors’ leaders have called for mental and physical health to be treated equally for medical students and doctors. 

In a motion proposed by the BMA’s Junior Members Forum at its annual representative meeting (ARM) in Belfast, members voted to accept the call for the BMA to produce best practice guidelines for universities and employers, as part of ongoing efforts to reduce any stigma experienced by people taking sick leave due to mental ill health.

BMA medical students committee co-chair Gurdas Singh said: ‘With a recent report by the BMA revealing the extent of the mental health crisis among medical students and doctors, with eight in ten at high or very high risk of burnout and over a quarter having been diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point, this is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed.

‘The BMA, therefore, calls for equal and just treatment for mental and physical ill health for medical students and doctors to reduce the stigma for those who need to take sick leave due to mental ill health, which is particularly important given its prevalence amongst the medical profession.’

He added: ‘In keeping with part of the wider BMA project looking at the mental health of the profession the BMA is using its research in this area to inform a wellbeing charter with specific asks for universities and employers so we can begin to make these much-needed changes.’

Last month, Pulse exclusively revealed that more than half of GPs say they are working above safe limits, typically completing 11-hour days and dealing with a third more patients than they believe they should be.

Delegates at ARM also heard a motion on the GP contract but rejected the ‘immediate’ withdrawal from it

Last week, the BMA revealed that they had written to NHS Property Services threatening legal action over the ‘astronomical’ rises in charges faced by GPs