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CAMHS won't see you now

Well, BMA, it's over to you

With the BMA facing open revolt from salaried GPs, the ball is in chair Dr Hamish Meldrum's court

By Richard Hoey

With the BMA facing open revolt from salaried GPs, the ball is in chair Dr Hamish Meldrum's court

There's been a certain nervous excitement on the Pulse news desk over the last few days.

It's not every week that we get the chance to break a story that could change the future of general practice – even if the change could well be for the worse.

In case you missed it, salaried GPs are in talks over a dramatic split from the BMA, in what could be a game-changer, and almost certainly will crystallise the divisions within the profession.

So did the story come out of the blue to us?

Well, actually not. Pulse first knew the talks were going on a couple of months ago, but sometimes – and this is one of the greatest frustrations of journalism – knowing is not the same as being in a position to report.

We didn't know exactly which union the National Association of Sessional GPs was talking to, and in any case, the sketchy information we had been given was on the condition that we kept schtum… forcing us to await further developments.

What that does mean though is that the discussions between the NASGP and the Medical Practitioners' Union are not at the beginning, but near the end.

And it will take a pretty dramatic intervention from the BMA now to prevent a parting of ways.

Still, there's still a chance that such an intervention may be forthcoming.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman has already submitted a letter to Pulse, pledging to set up a working group to look at better representation of salaried GPs within the BMA and LMCs.

The question is, how far will Dr Buckman go?

He is apparently avowedly against the BMA setting up a new committee to represent salaried GPs and locums, at the same level of the GPC.

Of course any such move would hugely erode his own power base - but anything less is highly unlikely to keep the rebels happy.

It feels a bit like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object – and in such occasions, it's generally an idea to refer upwards.

BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum… this could be your moment.

By Richard Hoey, Pulse editor

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