The BMA’s GP Committee has been instructed to present an annual report on inappropriate conduct complaints received, as part of its bid to root out institutional sexism.
The UK LMCs conference today voted in favour of a motion which said the GPC should ‘provide an annual report to this conference to include the number and type of all relevant complaints and outcomes, and all actions taken that year to ensure and assure appropriate behaviour by members and staff’.
This follows the BMA sexism report carried out in 2019 by Daphne Romney QC, which concluded that the doctors’ union has an ‘old boys’ club network’ culture that treats ‘women as of less importance and ability’.
As part of the debate on gender equality, LMC representatives also voted for the GPC to
- report annually on the GP gender pay gap and actions taken to tackle it, and
- for GPC to negotiate ‘changes to all general practice contractor contracts to encourage and support part-time and flexible working in partnerships’.
This comes as a report last December found that GPs have the highest gender pay gap among doctors working in the NHS, with women being paid 80-85% of men’s pay for the same hours, even after accounting for different working patterns.
Presenting the motion, Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland LMC member Dr Fahreen Dhanji, said: ‘We’re asking the GPC to provide an annual report of any complaints that happened in the year. It’s to make sure that these reports didn’t just make for good reading, but actually making sure that they have been implemented and that there is some accountability to it.
‘Bringing them back to the conference every year will make sure that they are not forgotten completely.’
GPC England gender diversity champion Dr Rachel Ali said: ‘On reporting on complaints, we would need to be very careful about people’s confidentiality on both sides of the equation. We can find ways of doing this that are respectful of everyone involved.
‘The motion isn’t prescriptive, so if we set some smart objectives and look at a system-wide approach, I’m sure we can ensure some clarity, transparency and reliability that would mean we can address systemic and institutional bias.’
However, regarding the gender pay gap, she warned that an annual report on the change is ‘very difficult to do, because getting the data to work out what the gap took an enormous amount of work from a large research group’.
But she added: ‘I’m sure we can report on changes we are making and the impact in a more anecdotal way.’
The BMA will be holding a working group on improving the gender pay gap within medicine in two weeks, with representation from the GPC, she further told delegates.
Concerns about sexism in the GPC were initially raised by Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer and Dr Zoe Norris, after female members of the committee were asked ‘what their husband thinks of them being away for so long’.
One GP also overheard two senior LMC people on GPC braying loudly their guesstimated bra size of a key committee member’.
Motion in full
That conference welcomes the Dacre and Romney reports, and calls for:
- (i) the GPC to produce an annual report to this conference to include up to date data on the gender
pay gap, what actions have been implemented and what change in the pay gap has resulted PASSED
- (ii) the GPC to negotiate changes to all general practice contractor contracts to encourage and support
part time and flexible working in partnerships PASSED
- (iii) the GPC to provide an annual report to this conference to include the number and type of all relevant complaints and outcomes, and all actions taken that year to ensure and assure appropriate behaviour by members and staff PASSED