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Seven GPs elected to BMA Council

Seven GPs have been elected to BMA Council, including a prominent anti-privatisation campaigner and one member who is calling for mass resignation from the GP contract.

The successful GP candidates were GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey, Tower Hamlets CCG chair Dr Sam Everington, Welsh GPC deputy chair Dr David Bailey, BMA Scottish Council chair Dr Brian Keighley, former GPC chair Dr John Chisholm, Lancashire GP Dr David Wrigley and south London GP Dr Una Coales.

Among non-GPs elected to the council were Queen Mary public health expert Professor Allyson Pollock – who came top of the poll - and north London consultant Dr Jacky Davis, who co-wrote the book ‘NHS SOS: How the NHS was betrayed - and how we can save it’, published earlier this year, together with Dr Wrigley.

Commenting on their election, Dr Wrigley said he and fellow campaigners will now attempt to keep the anti-privatisation message central to the BMA’s agenda.

He said: ‘I am very grateful to my UK medical colleagues for electing me onto the council. I have been a heavy campaigner over the disastrous Health and Social Care Act and plan to continue campaigning against the privatisation of the NHS in England. We will carry on getting our message across and with my colleagues I will campaign to get the BMA to fight for the NHS.’

Meanwhile, Dr Una Coales, who has floated the controversial suggestion for GPs to walk out on the GP contract, said: ‘My main objective is to campaign for the BMA to ballot GP members on mass resignation from the NHS GP contract - as things stand we are facing is the disintegration of general practice, with devastating consequences for patients.

‘We need to look at an alternative, perhaps with co-payment, adopting the dentist’s model of allowing GPs to offer private services alongside NHS so that income can keep the state side viable.’

‘We are trying to make savings but the demand is unrelenting and the Government doesn’t want to address that because of [losing the vote]. We need to adopt the Australian, Canadian or Irish model where there is a fee but those who are poor or elderly get reimbursed - so we take care of those who can’t afford healthcare but ask those who can to contribute.’

Note: This story was amended at 09.54 on Wednesday 23 April.

Candidates elected onto BMA Council

Professor Allyson Pollock – Academic, London/Scotland

Dr Sam Everington - GP, London

Dr Una  Coales - GP, London

Dr Richard Vautrey– GP, north east England

Dr John Chisholm –GP, London

Dr David Wrigley – GP, north west England

Dr Jacky Davis – Consultant, London

Dr Trevor Pickersgill – Consultant, Wales

Dr David Bailey – GP, Wales

Dr Brian Keighley – retired GP, Scotland

Dr Sara Hedderwick – Consultant, Northern Ireland

Dr Derek Machin – Consultant, north west England

Dr J S Bamrah – Consultant, north west England

Dr Radhakrishna Shanbhag, – Staff associates specialist, north west England

Dr Kitty Mohan – Junior doctors, London

Dr Jonathan Coates – Junior doctors, north east England

Dr Brendan McKeating – Armed forces, central England

Dr Mark Weir – Occupational health, Northern Ireland

Source: BMA

Readers' comments (58)

  • Well done all - now please go to it and stop the rot that is decimating general practice!

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  • Vinci Ho

    One thing about fighting this war:
    Identify who is the true ally? Who is the true enemy?
    Think clearly and open your eyes wide........

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  • Why do you state that Una Coles is " controversial"?
    She stated her views clearly and won.
    What's controversial about that? It's called democracy and may represent the beginning of the majority view being represented at long last.

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  • Hi there, many thanks for your comments on this. The article has been amended to reflect that Dr Coales has put forward a controversial suggestion, rather than her being a controversial candidate.


  • I think Pulse is stating her views of mass resignation is controversial, not her election.

    If you read the posts here you wouldn't think her views are controversial though!

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  • So now we have our lions but what is the use if they only have an army of donkeys behind them?

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  • Her views are only controversial if you disagree with them, or are pro establishment. I feel that the Pulse editorial team need to explain as they cannot possibly be unaware of their readers' views.

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  • Hi, thanks for your comment. Pulse's reporting and editorial line can rarely, if ever, be described as 'pro-establishment'. In this case, even Dr Coales would agree that the suggestion of mass resignation from the NHS is likely to face opposition from within the profession.

  • PS. The threat of mass undated resignation was what changed things in 2003/4.
    How come it is now a "controversial" option when things are even worse than they were then?
    We have truly become a bunch of wimps.

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  • I think the undated resignation letters a very good idea,but we should be careful to state the terms on which we would come back. No GP surgery must be disadvantaged by having submitted their resignation letter.

    In other words we ALL only come back when they reinstate all our contracts, making good any losses, and on more realistic payment terms.

    One for all, and all for one !

    Bring it on.

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  • Una Coales

    This story went from 'popular' to 'controversial' since I last read this article. Not to worry, I am grateful that Pulse is giving mention to my primary objective, and that is to give GP members what they want, a ballot on strike or mass resignation. Enough is enough.

    The term of office starts June 26 and then I can write up the council motion for the September 24 BMA Council meeting. Really tight schedule as with each passing month, more NHS GP surgeries are struggling with MPIG cuts and now an A&E doctor is writing me at his wits end working 12-14 hour shifts with a 20 minute break if he is lucky and struggling to provide for his family. He is burning out.

    I just don't see medical students saddled with a £70k debt (£9k/y x 5 yrs + £5k/y living x 5 yrs) entering GP training when the job prospects look so dim.

    I have my work cut out for me to show socialist ideologists that ideology will not pay the bills for GPs or A&E doctors or help them cope with intolerable workloads and work stress.

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  • Una - go for it! There will be a groundswell of support. Just need a leader to show the way!

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