GPC appoints CCG chair to top negotiating body
The GPC has named a CCG chair as one of its lead negotiators representing the GP profession on matters including contract negotiations.
The appointment of NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG chair Dr Gavin Ralston marks the first time a CCG leader has been a GPC negotiator.
The other new member on the GPC executive is Devon LMC interim medical secretary Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, a longstanding GPC member who first joined the committee in 2011.
The new appointments come as Essex LMC chief executive Dr Brian Balmer, as well as Dr Beth McCarron and Dr Dean Marshall, step down as negotiators this month.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul remains the chair of GPC and Dr Richard Vautrey remains deputy chair.
Dr Ralston, who was not previously on the GPC, is a GP in the Harborne area of south-west Birmingham.
He practices at the Lordswood Medical Group, which was formed via the recent merger of three smaller GP practices.
His CCG is also looking to merge into a larger entity at the moment, with the proposed combination of NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG with neighbouring CCGs in Birmingham and Solihull to form the largest CCG in the country.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Ralston said: 'General practice and indeed the NHS as a whole is at a crossroads and now more than ever we need to make certain that general practice has a strong voice.
'I am really pleased to be taking up this role and looking forward to using my experience both as a GP and a commissioner to ensure that general practice thrives and not just survives, which is a necessity for the NHS as a whole to work well for patients.'
Dr Sanford-Wood said: 'I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed to the GP committee’s executive team at such a crucial time for the profession. I relish the prospect of working with the entire GP committee in the forthcoming challenges to represent all branches of general practice during a period of unprecedented change for the NHS.'
Dr Nagpaul, who made the appointments, said: 'This newly appointed English executive team will provide strategic leadership and will work with a range of policy leads as part of wider reforms within the BMA’s GP committee.'
He said this would include 'closer working with LMCs' to deliver on the priorities of the GPC's recent Urgent Prescription for General Practice and the Government’s recently announced GP Forward View.
Dr Nagpaul said: 'I believe this new team has the broad range of experience and skills to listen, represent and lead the profession in these difficult times.'
The new appointments come as the GPC last month called of plans to ballot BMA GP members on their willingness to sign undated resignation in a mass protest at the Government's lack of support for general practice.
The GPC said this came as NHS England had agreed to take on board suggestions from the Urgent Prescription.