The BMA has ‘no immediate plans’ to share the results from its ballot of GPs regarding industrial action with its members, despite previously saying results would be announced by today.
GPs were given until 14 November to respond to a BMA ballot asking what action they are prepared to take against NHS England’s access plan.
The indicative ballot asked practices whether they would be prepared to take any or all of five specific actions – withdrawal or disengagement from the PCN DES, disrupting appointment data and industrial action on Covid exemption certificates and pay declarations.
In an email bulletin sent to GPs last month announcing the upcoming launch of the ballot, the GPC set out that ‘results [would] be communicated to members’ on 18 or 19 November, after the ballot closed on 13 or 14 November.
The ballot went ahead and closed on 14 November as planned but the BMA has now said that it will analyse the results and share the GPC’s decision on ‘next steps’ with members ‘in due course’.
The latest GPC bulletin, published after its meeting yesterday, said: ‘Following a thorough and engaging debate amongst committee members, we are now analysing the results in detail before deciding on the next steps, which we will communicate to all members in due course.’
When questioned about the discrepancy, the BMA suggested that the change in timeline is due to the new leadership in the committee.
Dr Farah Jameel was elected to replace Dr Richard Vautrey in the GPC England chair role at yesterday’s meeting.
A BMA spokesperson told Pulse: ‘Regarding the previous communication, this was sent under previous leadership and with a new chair now in place, it is only right that they and their team drives the strategy going forward and at a pace they feel will bring the greatest of benefits to members in the longer term.’
They added: ‘Members of the GP committee, which has just welcomed a new chair, have discussed the results and we are now analysing them in detail before deciding on next steps, which will be discussed with members in due course.
‘These results were designed to help guide and inform what steps may be taken going forward and those strategic decisions require time to discuss and consider.’
However, earlier in the week and before the election, a spokesperson told Pulse that while the results will be ‘considered in detail’, there are ‘no immediate plans to make them available publicly as there is no need to do so’.
There is no indication of when the BMA will communicate ‘next steps’ with GPs or whether the actual results of the ballot will be shared, rather than just the ‘next steps’ informed by them.
New BMA GPC England chair Dr Jameel has said that she wants to ‘reset’ its relationship with the Government, following her election yesterday.
As well as balloting GPs on industrial action, the BMA has advised practices to immediately start offering consultations of 15 minutes or more and apply to close their patient list, as part of the fightback against the GP access plan.