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BMA members back leadership over extended hours dispute

By Steve Nowottny

A motion attacking BMA leaders over their handling of the extended hours dispute has been overwhelmingly defeated at this year's Annual Representatives' Meeting in Edinburgh.

The grassroots motion, debated yesterday, had criticised the GPC's 'surrender' over the dispute.

Dr Jim Appleyard, former BMA treasurer and a retired consultant paediatrician from Kent, said that grassroots GPs had been angry at being offered only two options – accepting the Government's contract offer or accepting its threatened imposition - in the BMA's ballot in February.

He said: '200 Gps attended a meeting in Canterbury. They were faced with two options – two alternative ways of surrendering to the Government's coercion.'

'There was a third option – not to vote for either,' he added. 'There should be no surrender that threatens our patients' welfare.'

But the accusation drew a furious response from GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman.

'I absolutely refute the suggestion we surrendered to anyone over extended hours,' he said. 'We took a pragmatic decision to advise GPs which was not as bad as th other. Voting for neither would have meant we'd have got imposition B.

And senior delegates queued up to defend the BMA leadership's handling of the crisis.

Dr Fay Wilson, chair of the LMCs conference, said: 'There was no surrender, there was a strategic withdrawal. It was a choice between being shot once and shot twice.'

'I was as angry as anyone else but let's move on – let's blame those responsible and not blame ourselves.'

The motion was overwhelmingly defeated, with around a dozen of the several hundred delegates voting in support.

Dr Fay Wilson: no surrender Dr Fay Wilson: no surrender

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