British Medical Association

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Do you want to make a difference? If you answered ‘Yes’ you should consider a career in medicine. What does it take?

In terms of the training period, you will first need to apply for a place at medical school, where undergraduate courses are commonly five years. After graduation from medical school, doctors undertake what is regarded as an ‘apprenticeship’ and learning is undertaken while actually doing the job. This ‘apprenticeship’ begins at foundation year (F1) and continues until you become a consultant or a GP.

Within the practice of medicine there are over 60 different specialties, each with their own particular characteristics. Your medical training will give you the opportunity to discover which appeals to you most and can involve studying abroad.

Once you become a doctor you will need to register with the GMC and are strongly advised to acquire medical insurance. Most doctors also become members of the British Medical Association.

What is the British Medical Association (BMA)?

  • A voluntary professional association for doctors
  • An independent trade union, recognised by government as the voice of all doctors in the UK
  • A scientific and educational body
  • A publisher
  • The voice for doctors at home and abroad

The BMA represents all doctors practising in all branches of medicine in the UK. It has over 153,000 members, 24,000 of whom are medical students. Membership of the BMA is voluntary, but many consider it essential, and over 70 per cent of practising doctors are currently members.

What the BMA does

The BMA fully understands the issues that matter to medical students and can provide the support and protection they require throughout their studies and subsequent career. Every medical school has a representative on the BMA Medical Students Committee (MSC), which campaigns on issues such as student finance, the welfare of medical students and medical education.

Membership of the BMA provides many benefits for medical students including:

  • local and national representation
  • BMA Library access – one of the UK’s best medical information services
  • full access to the BMA website
  • BMA guidance notes and advice and assistance on ethical and other professional issues
  • tailored financial products and services, including elective insurance
  • revision courses and online learning resources
  • discounted medical equipment and books
  • BMA Careers Services and employment advice

For more information about the BMA and a career in medicine go to bma.org.uk/developing-your-career

You can also download Becoming a Doctor, an excellent publication outlining everything you need to know.

For further details and advice about entering medical school read The insiders’ guide to medical schools 2006/2007 – available to buy in book stores and online.