The BMA’s GP Committee for England has passed a vote of no confidence in its elected chair Dr Farah Jameel, who is currently on maternity leave.
The motion, put forward by committee members, proposed that the GPCE is ‘deeply concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the status of the alleged suspension’ of Dr Jameel, and demanded new elections be held imminently.
Pulse understands the motion was passed in all parts this morning.
Dr Jameel was elected as the first female GPCE chair in late 2021, but was put on temporary suspension in November last year following complaints made by the organisation’s staff.
However, formal hearings into the complaint have not yet taken place due to Dr Jameel’s ongoing maternity leave, which she began at around the same time as her suspension towards the end of last year.
Dr Kieran Sharrock, a GP in Lincolnshire, is currently standing in as acting chair during her absence.
The BMA has confirmed that nominations for the next chair of GPC England will open shortly, and Dr Sharrock will remain in position until a new chair has been elected.
Dr Jameel will continue as a member of the committee.
Some GPs and other healthcare professionals have expressed concern about the fairness of this vote of no confidence, with a petition launching yesterday calling for its withdrawal having received over 300 signatures.
The GPC equalities lead and proposer of the motion Dr Rachel Ali said it was not ‘brought on by the actions of any individual’, but rather ‘to give the committee a chance to offer a clear democratic mandate to the leadership of the profession and end the uncertainty of the last few months’.
She said: ‘We have an absolutely critical window now to safeguard general practice and in these key few months we need to galvanise the committee and organise our colleagues across the country.
‘As the GPC equalities chair I want to assure members that we have considered this motion very carefully, and given the Standing Orders of the committee, we feel it is the only fair way forward.’
The BMA’s co-CEO Rachel Podolak said: ‘The BMA’s resolution process is run independently and externally to the BMA, as recommended by the Romney and Tierney reviews.
‘The process provides confidentiality to both complainants and respondents. We always aim to conclude all processes as soon as possible.’
Motion in full
That this committee is deeply concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the status of the alleged suspension of the Chair of GPCE ahead of significant impending contractual and political upheaval from now through 2024, and:
i) is sympathetic towards the Chair and the difficult circumstances surrounding her absence
ii) applauds the Acting Chair and Officer Team for their commitment, work, and leadership during the Chair’s absence
iii) asserts that the proper, effective, democratic representation of the profession is of paramount importance to this committee
iv) regrets that it has no alternative but the declare that this committee has no confidence in the current elected Chair of GPCE, and demands elections be held as soon as possible for a new Chair (and subsequent Officer Team) in accordance with Standing Orders
Proposer: Rachel Ali
Seconders: Paul Evans, Bruce Hughes, Ivan Camphor, Mark Steggles, Diana Hunter, James Booth, Shaba Nabi, Matt Mayer, Rob Barnett
Correction: A previous version of this article listed Dr Deborah Colvin and Dr Jackie Applebee as seconders to this motion, however they have confirmed that they withdrew their names before the motion was presented at the meeting.