Doctors in Unite is the UK’s oldest medical trade union representing junior doctors, general practitioners and hospital consultants.
Founded in 1914, our union campaigned for the formation of the NHS. Its story is our legacy.
Doctors who join our trade union receive the legal, financial, and professional support of being part of Unite, one of the UK’s largest unions with over 100,000 health workers and more than a million members.
Our heritage shapes the health service
Before our affiliation with Unite we were known as the Medical Practitioners’ Union. In the 1930s our detailed policy proposals helped forge the NHS. In the 1960s our input into the Family Doctors’ Charter laid the groundwork for modern general practice. In the 1990s we persuaded the Labour Party and the BMA to transform NHS funding, by replacing GP fundholding with locality commissioning. Find out more in our online archive.
Doctors advocating for patients
We helped produce the first Charter of Patients’ Rights in the 1980s, working with Jean Robinson and the Patients’ Association. Revolutionary at the time, patients’ rights are now enshrined in the NHS Constitution.
Workplace equality champions
Our groundbreaking study of women doctors’ working patterns in the 1960s led to the first demands for less-than-full-time training. Our research into racial discrimination in junior doctor appointments in the 1980s uncovered systemic bias in recruitment practices.
Today we continue the fight for equality through the support of our LGBTQ+ members, and we campaign for better provision for doctors and medical students with disabilities.
Progressive voices in the British Medical Association
Doctors in Unite works closely with colleagues in the BMA through an agreement dating back to the 1950s, which allows our union to hold seats on the BMA’s committee representing general practitioners.
Many of our members are also a part of the BMA, and have held important roles in both organisations. Some of the BMA’s most progressive initiatives started in our union.
Proudly part of the Trades Union Congress
As a part of Unite we are a TUC affiliated union. Our members have used our influence within the trade union movement to gain TUC support for abortion rights, the rights of women, and support for doctors undertaking strike action.