No news revelations here. Nothing at all to see really, but for some reason I think connoisseurs of official discomfort might enjoy this.
This (BMA link below) is a report of an event that irked the BMA so much that it has changed policies on the way it handles public events. Dr Aseem Malhotra, at an event that was linked to the BMA but not officially endorsed by them, gave a celebrated lecture titled Has Big Pharma Hijacked Evidence-Based Medicine?
It was warmly received by the audience ( I presume he angled around the answer “Yes”) and flashed round the world.
(Yes the BMA report is pretty dull)
My highlights below, then some biased comments:
3.3 The introduction of a vetting process, whereby each submission to list a dinner is
checked over by senior staff and elected members, may mitigate the risk of possible future
3.6 The BMA celebrates inclusivity and diversity.
3.7 The Representative Body Chair has made a commitment to review the processes by
which all fringe and unofficial events are supported by the BMA, including but not limited to
advertising and BMA staff support.
Recommendation A: The representative body chair’s review of the process by which all
fringe and unofficial events are supported by the BMA should result in stricter processes
and requirements from any supported fringe events about their content, any invited
guests and speakers, unofficial awards as well as social media outputs. Any dinners listed
may be subject to a vetting procedure to minimise the risk of bringing the Profession or
the Association into disrepute. Dinners not listed will not be subject to vetting. Any
changes will be implemented for 2023.
Access to BMA events
3.22 Aseem Malhotra departed the venue following the photograph. It is unclear how he
gained entry to the venue and whether he was accompanied by someone else given he was
not a delegate to ARM. This year’s ARM was the first since 2019 where delegates met in
person. Additionally, there were a number of new security staff on the door who may not
have felt fully empowered to deal with senior high-profile members (or non-members)
seeking to bring members without credentials into the venue. It is noted, however, that
ANY BMA member can request admission to the BMA AGM, which is held during the ARM.
Recommendation F: For future ARMs security and staff should be briefed on the process
for visitors seeking entry to ARM and security staff fully empowered to refuse entry to
people without credentials. The mechanism for granting visitor access to BMA events
should be explicit and clear and all delegates reminded of the process for bringing guests
whether they are members or not into ARM.
In concluding this report, the BMA has undertaken a review of events and given answers
posed by those raising concerns (a summary of the replies to specific questions is given in
Alex Flynn, BMA Chief of Staff, September 2022
APPENDIX F (my emphaasis - ED)
Key requests from member concerns letter:
The (immediate past) Chair of Council to publicly apologise in writing for appearing to
endorse Dr Malhotra. Done.
A formal enquiry reporting to the Board and to Council regarding the events leading up to
and the conclusion of this “Award”. Done. This forms the basis of this report.
The BMA to recognise and highlight the negative effects from events which could increase vaccine disinformation and hesitancy. Done. Communicated publicly immediately
after the events described and within this report.
It seems to have particularly irked the BMA that awards that were supposed to be given out inside the dinner were accidentally postponed, and made the next day with photographs being taken in front of BMA boards.
But while squawking a lot, the BMA seem unable to own up to what is bugging them.
Although the content of Dr Malhotra’s speech was enthusiastically received by some vaccine hesitant quarters, the BMA probably also thought the focus on Pharma (TBH, corruption of medicine) was lapping a little close to their feet. I presume (and I waive my right to be invited to speak at BMA dinners ) they are awash with conflicts of interest.
The BMA: We need to vet speakers more, in order to stop things that we don’t know about from being said.
“The BMA celebrates inclusivity and diversity.”
Lol. Translation: We’d better say that and hope people won’t join up the dots.
A formal enquiry was conducted even though the BMA say there is (or was not at the time) no formal recording of the event, and the speaker who is the object of concern is not said to have made anti-vaccine statements.
He didn’t? So what’s the problem then.
The BMA: Even though it wasn’t a BMA event we need to vet these events to ensure content that wasn’t anti-vaccine does not bring the profession into disrepute.
At the same time the BMA has to recognise and highlight the negative effects from events which could increase vaccine disinformation and hesitancy.
Um, So Dr Malhotra fuelled false DISinformation about the vaccine without making any statements that were anti-vaccine?
Finally (presumably referring to the next day, when Dr Malhotra returned for the award and the photos were taken), the BMA illustrates its inclusiveness by asking, formally, how did this guy, who is only the consultant cardiologist son of a previous BMA head (who died after a covid vaccine reaction) get past security?
Overall the BMA’s reaction shows Dr Malhotra’s focus has more than just touched a raw nerve. Maybe it was right at the start where he talks about…fear