A statement from our new Chair, Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden
Firstly, I want to thank you for all of the support you have given us so far. The Doctors' Association UK came together as a group of friends, who were the original admin team of our Facebook group, The Political Mess (TPM) at the time, to lobby and advocate for doctors. I don’t think any of us envisaged that we would be challenging the GMC, or making a written submission to the Williams Review, or taking on a Junior Health Minister. We wouldn’t have achieved any of that without the response we’ve had from all of you, so thank you.
When we started DAUK I don’t think we had a clear idea of what we would become, and in the midst of the all the campaigning we’ve scrambled to find our feet and define ourselves as an organisation who you would want lobbying for you.
As such there have been some valid questions and concerns raised over past weeks regarding The Political Mess, and the issue of democratic representation. That is fair, and we have listened.
I am very pleased to say that DAUK has made some significant changes. We have chewed this over for some weeks and have now written and voted on our constitution, and I’ll summarise those changes for you now.
A democratic mandate:
1) So far, we have picked our causes by listening to doctors on social media. But we feel strongly that we cannot claim to truly represent anyone without having a democratic mandate. And that is why DAUK is becoming an elected committee. We will be working towards holding open elections within a year, and it is our intention that any UK doctor that is a member can stand for election.
A dedicated committee, working for free:
2) DAUK will therefore have it’s own membership, to which we will be wholly accountable. It is our intention that every member will have a vote at elections and at an annual meeting. We will be giving you details on how you can sign up very soon. We feel that it is right that each DAUK committee officer has an equal voice and decisions are taken by majority vote. Don’t like what we are doing? There is now a clear mechanism to remove us. Our committee will continue to be run by volunteers, who will not be paid for their time.
A different direction:
3) For that reason it has sadly become clear that DAUK should become independent of TPM. DAUK and TPM are now separate, with separate governance structures and separate teams and have actually been run separately for some weeks.
A change in leadership:
4) Which brings us onto a change in leadership. Dr Julia Patterson resigned her post as Chair some 3 weeks ago to focus on TPM. I thank her for all she has done so far, and I wish her well. I am pleased and proud and slightly nervous to be stepping up as the new Chair of the new DAUK.
So some questions and answers:
What do you stand for?
We advocate for and lobby on behalf of all UK doctors. For too long doctors have not had a voice when it comes to healthcare policy, politics, the NHS. We seek to change that.
Are you a new union?
No, and we advise that you remain a member of union.
Are you anti-BMA?
Are you pro-BMA?
Are you the new BMA?
Are you affiliated with the Royal Colleges/medical unions/any political party?
No, DAUK is wholly independent of all the above, although we may choose to work with any one of them, as we have done previously, where their aims align with ours in furthering the interests of doctors.
Are you for-profit?
No, we are not for profit. No-one on the Executive Committee will be receiving a salary. We feel so passionately about lobbying for doctors that we are giving up our time for free.
Can I join the committee?
Yes! We have a couple of vacancies and will be looking to co-opt into them before we hold elections. We will be on the look out for a GP in particular. Watch this space.
How do I get rid of you?
Am I not up to scratch? Don’t worry, there is a clear mechanism for how our members or our committee can remove me as Chair.
Can I read your constitution?
Yes. It’s long and dry and boring but you can read it here https://DAUK.org/DAUK-Constitution-4kyz.pdf
What if I still have questions and concerns?
As a new and democratic organisation that is aiming to be wholly accountable to our members, we expect to be questioned. This is all new to us; we would welcome your feedback and would happily answer any questions you have. Feel free to comment below, PM me, or email us at doctorsassociationUK@gmail.com. We are listening!
You can check out our updated website here: https://www.dauk.org/
And lastly...thank you to our awesome DAUK team for making this happen.
Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden
Chair, The Doctors' Association UK