The BMA is an independent trade union and professional body for doctors and medical students in the UK.
Becoming a member of the BMA is not a mandatory requirement of working in the UK, however, there are recognised benefits of being a member. These benefits include:
- Ethics toolkits
- Getting expert advice on issues such as contracts, pay and pensions
- Legal advice on partnership agreements and practice mergers (in general practice)
- A free contract checking service
- Access to the BMA Library with a free UK postal loan service and online access to learning resources
- Expert financial advice
- Confidential counselling and guidance
- A free copy of The BMJ (online and in print) in order to keep up-to-date with the latest clinical research and information on professional development, careers and jobs.
The BMA website also provides an online space with which to connect with other doctors in order to network and discuss with peers.
British National Formulary (BNF)
The BNF aims to provide prescribers, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals with sound up-to-date information about the use of medicines. It includes key information on the selection, prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines.
The BNF for children (BNFC) provides practical information on the use of medicines in children of all ages from birth to adolescence.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
NICE provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. They are a Non-Departmental Public Body and independent of the government.
NICE’s role is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services. They produce evidence-based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners. They also develop quality standards and performance metrics for those providing and commissioning health, public health and social care services.
NICE guidelines make evidence-based recommendations on a wide range of topics from preventing and managing specific conditions, improving health and managing medicines in different settings, to providing social care to adults and children, and planning broader services and interventions to improve the health of communities with the aim of promoting integrated care where appropriate.
NICE is also responsible for providing NHS access to the British National Formulary (BNF) and British National Formulary for Children (BNFC), which are published jointly by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Medical Association (BMA).
It is important to note that although the national guidance referred to by NICE and BNF should be used to aid your decision making, each Trust will have local guidelines for the management of certain conditions. Upon starting work, it would be prudent to seek out this guidance and become familiar with its content. It is typically stored on the local intranet and you will receive instruction upon induction to the Trust as to how you can access this. If you have any difficulty accessing these guidelines, you are encouraged to ask your supervisor and/or colleagues in the first instance.
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