Build the BMA?

Submitted by Matthew on 10 February, 2016 - 12:07 Author: Jessica Bradwell

I am a little concerned about the call in Solidarity to build the British Medical Association (Solidarity 392). It’s not that I think it’s wrong: rather that it would benefit from some further calls to address the anomalous position of the BMA.

Firstly, the BMA is not affiliated to the TUC. The more it acts like a proper trade union (like now), the stronger the case for it to affiliate. Secondly, the BMA is a craft union, organising one relatively-privileged section of health workers. This can lead it to play an unhelpful, sectionalist role at times (for instance during the establishment of the NHS).

Unfortunately, health workers currently seem to have the choice of craft unions or huge general unions in which they are swamped by bureaucrats taking decisions above their heads. Time to raise the call for one union for all health workers? Or at least stress the importance of doctors’ unity with nurses, midwives, physios, cleaners and other grades. (I know Solidarity has also called for nurses and doctors to take action together.) So, build the BMA? Yes, but also propose that the BMA affiliate to the TUC and unite with other health unions with a long-term goal of one union for all health workers.

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