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BMA will not be complacent over salaried split

In response to your front-page article (‘Salaried GPs in talks over split from BMA') we want to assure all salaried GPs the BMA continues to take their concerns very seriously – both the lack of partnerships and their frustration that we as an organisation represent both employees and employers.

It is important to remember, irrespective of our dual role, that we will always represent the interests of salaried members if they have employment issues. If there is a dispute between an employer and employee who are both members, different advisers are allocated to each party and confidentiality is assured. BMA industrial relations officers attend any dispute meetings to offer support and advice to salaried GPs. Members also have the backing of the BMA's external legal team.  

More widely, the sessional GPs subcommittee has looked at the representation of salaried GPs in the organisation and at LMC level. As a result the BMA is setting up a group to ensure optimum representative structures are in place. The sessional GPs subcommittee will be intimately involved with this as well as the day-to-day work of making sure the interests of salaried and locum GPs are properly represented in our negotiations with the Government.

The subcommittee has been key in our discussions with the Department of Health about death-in-service benefits for locums during a flu pandemic. It has been heavily involved in revalidation plans, and has negotiated the BMA's model contract for salaried GPs. We recognise that because the contract is not compulsory not everyone benefits, but it is there to set minimum standards for GMS practices and as a platform for negotiating with PMS and APMS practices. The BMA recently produced the salaried GP handbook for its members, and we provide courses and conferences for salaried GPs and locums which include employment and career advice.

We believe the BMA provides a good service to its members, but we are not complacent. We recognise that, as the numbers of sessional GPs continue to increase, the potential for growing tensions between salaried and principal GPs could affect the strength of our profession. We are committed to ensuring the BMA continues to represent all GPs in a way that responds to our members' best interests and meets the needs of the GP workforce.

From Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chair

Dr Laurence Buckman

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