Pulse takes a closer look at the two nominees for the next chair of the BMA’s GP Committee England, following the vote of no confidence in former chair Dr Farah Jameel last month.
The vote closes this week on 3 August.
Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer
Cambridgeshire LMC chief executive and LMC UK conference chair Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer has long been involved in BMA and wider GP politics.
Joining the GPC in 2007, a year before she fully qualified, she represented GP trainees and negotiated nationally for junior doctors during the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) debacle.
In 2016, she became medical director for six London LMCs, before joining Cambs LMC two years later as deputy chief executive, and reaching the top position in 2019. This was a big year for Dr Bramall-Stainer, as she was also elected to the position of deputy chair of the UK LMCs conference, before becoming chair in 2021.
In her high profile roles, Dr Bramall-Stainer has not been afraid of speaking out. In 2019, she and a colleague helped blow the lid off sexism at the BMA. While co-chairing an LMCs conference, she was the target of sexist remarks from another senior colleague. Female members of the committee were asked ‘what their husband thinks of them being away for so long’. After speaking out about this treatment and wider misogyny within the organisation, the BMA announced an independent investigation into sexism at its core. Daphne Romney QC’s report found that the BMA had an ‘old boys’ club network’ culture that treats ‘women as of less importance and ability’.
The LMC chief executive has also publicly spoken out against the GPC when she had ‘no confidence’ in its leadership. In 2021, there was an ongoing disagreement between the GPC and NHS England around face-to-face appointments. In May the GPC voted overwhelmingly to pause all meetings with NHSE, however, in September, a tighter vote passed to resume meetings. Following this, Dr Bramall-Stainer, along with two other colleagues, stepped down from her position as deputy policy lead for contracts and regulations.
She remains on the GP Committee via her role as chair of the UK LMC conference, and she also continues to work as a GP at Hailey View Surgery in Hoddesdon. For six years from 2010, Dr Bramall-Stainer led a large practice in Hertford as partner, where she was also clinical lead for women’s health. Now, given her variety of roles, she has said she practises in a ‘low volume capacity’ to allow her to focus on delivering for GPs across Cambridgeshire.
Last year, her LMC created a series of template letters to help practices reject secondary care workload dumping. Dr Bramall-Stainer said GPs were experiencing a ‘real tsunami of workload transfer’ and wanted to help mitigate this.
For the most recent UK LMC’s conference, named ‘Hanging on by a thread’, she cajoled the BAFTA-award-winning comedian and filmmaker Chris Morris to kick things off with a sketch about general practice. And her links to British TV stardom don’t stop there – Dr Bramall-Stainer has participated in a special winners’ episode of the Only Connect quiz show on BBC Two with her husband David Stainer. The episode was dubbed ‘Stainer versus Stainer’ as the couple captained rival teams.
Dr Kieran Sharrock
Current GPCE acting chair Dr Kieran Sharrock came into prominence in 2016 as he was the man behind an initiative to tempt European doctors to work in the UK. Despite the difficulties coming with the Brexit vote, he worked with recruitment firms and NHS managers to recruit the GPs with doctors from Spain, Poland, Romania and Italy that had already expressing their interest.
He is a former medical director of Lincolnshire LMC, of which he has been a member since 2007, and represents Lincolnshire, Humberside and East Yorkshire on the GPC. As part of a pilot which he oversaw as medical director, the LMC recruited international GPs from across Europe. At the time, he said that the recruitment of GPs from other parts of the UK would help with shortages in the county, but would not help the crisis overall, and that therefore recruitment from outside the UK was thought to be the only sustainable option.
In 2016, he also called on the Government to create a medical school in Lincolnshire, which GPs in the county hoped could be a solution to staff shortages, and has spoken multiple times about the need to train more doctors in Lincolnshire.
He joined the GPCE executive as deputy chair in 2021 and stepped in as acting chair of the committee in 2022 when Dr Farah Jameel went on sick leave then maternity leave. As acting chair, he led the GPCE during the negotiations for this year’s GP contract, expressed the committee’s view to ‘vociferously oppose’ the plan to bring SAS doctors into general practice and worked with the committee on plans to ask the Department of Health to remove workload from GP practices that could be done elsewhere.
He also spoke out about plans for GP industrial action at this year’s LMC conference, addressing claims that independent contractors cannot take industrial action and confirming that the BMA had been taking legal advice on potential strikes. Previously, with other GPCE officials, Dr Sharrock had set out plans on the potential options for industrial action, including full practice closures for a day and closures of patient lists.
He also wrote to the Labour Party, urging a discussion in a bid to change its position on the future of the partnership model, and asked chancellor Jeremy Hunt for a package of support for general practice, to address inflationary pressures and avert an ‘imminent crisis’.
Dr Sharrock began GP specialist training in London, completing MRCGP in Skegness in 1999, and has worked as a GP partner in Skegness and Mablethorpe, and as an associate GP in Spilsby. He has been a GP trainer since 2005 and has also carried out other roles including as a GP appraiser, RNLI lifeboat doctor and forensic medical examiner. He was the Skegness lifeboat doctor until 2013 and has an interest in sports injuries, having suffered many himself throughout the years.