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Meldrum election sets off GPC race

Dr Hamish Meldrum's election as the new chair of the BMA has triggered a wide-open battle to replace him at the helm of the GPC.

He stepped down as chair of the GPC after being elected as leader of the BMA at last week's annual representative meeting in Torquay, defeating rival candidates Dr Sam Everington, BMA deputy chair, and Dr Tony Calland, chair of BMA Wales.GPC members will elect a new chair on 19 July, with frontrunners including current acting chair Dr Laurence Buckman and fellow negotiating team members Dr Peter Holden, Dr Richard Vautrey and Dr Andrew Dearden.Dr Meldrum, a GP from Bridlington, East Yorkshire, has spearheaded often fraught negotiations with the Government over the past three years, from negotiating the GP contract to being forced to accept a second pay freeze in a row.Dr Meldrum called for a 'fresh start' in the BMA's relationship with the Government. He said: 'With a new leader of the country and a new leader of the BMA, this is a chance for a fresh start. Gordon Brown must fully engage with all health professionals if he is serious about his commitment to the values of the NHS.'Mr Brown was this week finalising a wholesale shake-up of roles at the Department of Health following the departure of health secretary Patricia Hewitt and health minister Andy Burnham.

• GPC election battle, page 3• Department shake-up, page 7

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