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GPC England to hold no-confidence vote in chair this week

GPC England to hold no-confidence vote in chair this week

Exclusive England’s GP leaders will vote on a motion to declare no confidence in their current elected chair this week, demanding new elections.

The motion, seen by Pulse, proposes that BMA’s GP Committee for England is ‘deeply concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the status of the alleged suspension of the chair’.

Dr Farah 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.

Formal hearings into the complaint have not yet taken place because Dr Jameel is currently on maternity leave, which she began at around the same time as her suspension towards the end of last year.

In an investigation earlier in 2022, Pulse reported that Dr Jameel had taken time off ill with stress following sexist comments made to her.

Dr Kieran Sharrock, a GP in Lincolnshire, is currently standing in as acting chair during Dr Jameel’s absence. 

Pulse understands the no-confidence motion will be voted on at the GPCE meeting this Thursday.

While those proposing and seconding the motion expressed sympathy towards Dr Jameel and the ‘difficult circumstances surrounding her absence’, they have said democratic representation is ‘of paramount importance’.

The motion will highlight the importance of leadership during the ‘significant and impending contractual and political upheaval’ over the next year.

This is the final year of the 2019 five-year contract, and a new agreement will be negotiated between the BMA and Government ahead of implementation in April 2024.

The BMA’s GPCE has been exploring potential GP industrial action, and confirmed last week that LMCs can lawfully participate in preparations for such action, including canvassing opinion and expressing support.

In a recent ‘call to action’, GPC England urged doctors to join the BMA ahead of a potential ballot over industrial action if 2024/25 contract negotiations turn sour.

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



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Not on your Nelly 18 July, 2023 12:28 pm

Wow. Woman. Check. Non-White. Check. Couldn’t make this up.

David Church 18 July, 2023 12:53 pm

Confused. ‘alleged’ suspension : do the committee members not know if the elected Chair was suspended ot not?
And is this a motion of no confidence in the Chair, which is unfair as the Chair has not been Chairing for 9 months?
Or is it a motion of no confidence in the Acting Chair, who seems to have been working hard to try to fill the gap left by suspension of the elected Chair?
Either way, it seems a divisive move at this time, but it is possible that this is the only outcome that Standing Orders allows for, as the circumstances were unforeseen. However, it seems to me that most committee members ought to have known in advance of the forthcoming period of maternity leave, seeing as most of them are Doctors, so whould be able to detect signs of pregnancy, no?

Vikas Kaura 18 July, 2023 12:56 pm

Sorry NOYN but that is a lazy comment. This is nothing more than pragmatic move and I commend it. As stated this is a very important time for the negotiations. GPC needs no further distractions and it is good to see someone is doing something out it.

Sam Macphie 18 July, 2023 1:49 pm

‘Not On Your Nelly’ seems to be making some assumptions. What is your real name? and don’t hide behind your disguise.

Latif Hussain 18 July, 2023 2:06 pm

Not sure how you can have a motion of no confidence in a Chair that’s hardly been in post ??
I understand she was suspended in view of allegations made against her . Surely those need to be investigated first . I understand she also made some counter-allegations as well .
In the interests of fairness & clarity surely these allegations need to be investigated first .
In the meantime the Deputy Chair should continue to act up as Chair .
The whole thing seems very messy & secretive .

Darren Tymens 18 July, 2023 2:14 pm

I don’t think this is about gender or background, it is about performance.
18 months in to Farah’s tenure, and the current approach has seen 2 imposed contracts, a failure to increase funding, a failure to negotiate uplifts to account for huge rises in expenses and inflationary pressures, a pay rise for staff that isn’t fully funded, an end to the partnership incentive scheme, further real-terms cuts in partner income, continued bashing in the press etc etc. We are in a worse place than we were then, and the situation continues to deteriorate.
Farah is the only elected member of the executive – everyone else on the Executive is her appointee. To their credit they have managed pretty well in her absence, and the BMA Safe Working initiative is a Good Thing, but I think it is clear that whatever their strategy is (and that really isn’t clear) it isn’t working.
To be fair, Farah was a member of Richard Vautrey’s Executive Team, and was the continuity candidate at a time when what we really needed was a completely new approach and not more of the same; but at the time of her election there was no one willing to step up and provide an alternative vision.
But now – when every other branch of public services has stood up to defend themselves apart from us – perhaps there are people who are willing to put themselves forward to defend the profession and the interests of our patients. I hope so, otherwise the vote of no confidence will just lead to more instability.

Mark Funnell 18 July, 2023 2:22 pm

The lack of knowledge of what is going on in detail makes it really hard for us to judge this from the outside. Given comments leveled previously against the BMA/GPC & the culture therein, it is concerning to see all of this playing out. As someone else said Dr Jameel should be protected by maternity law & everyone has a right to a fair hearing before being judged but these processes need to be timely & not be allowed to drag on.
Surely something can be done to formalise the mandate of the current temporary leadership to lead us into the new contract negotiations pending the outcome of the correct process for Dr Jameel.
This is our first female leader & we need to get provisions in place to deal with managing maternity leave & maintaining leadership in the process as we are going to be heavily represented by our female colleagues going forward. The perception will be, rightly or wrongly, that the GPC members do not like the elected chair & want another one that suits them better & the necessary veil around the reasons opens this up to the conspiracy theorists.
It seems harsh to judge her on what she has delivered (or not) when as the previous contributor said she has been suspended or on maternity leave for a considerable part of this time.
Modernise the structures & make then suited to the full committee membership & their needs.
This process reflects badly on us as a profession at a time when we need to be seen as a modern, forward thinking group with positive, relevant ideas for the future of general practice.

Not on your Nelly 18 July, 2023 9:11 pm

For all you doubters above, do remember the BMA track record for both misogyny and racism. Easy search.

Mark Funnell 18 July, 2023 10:50 pm

Indeed – I referenced that in my post Not on your Nelly

John Glasspool 19 July, 2023 6:47 am

BMA innit? What else can one expect except smoke, mirrors and mysogyny.

Hot Felon 19 July, 2023 1:42 pm

Poor selection and a total failure.

Bob Hodges 19 July, 2023 5:55 pm

There are TWO issues.

1) There is the way that Dr Jameel has been treated by the BMA (NOT the GPC) prior to this. We have a deadlock situation, and I insticitively support her in her effort to clear her name and seek justice.

2) Unfortunately the absence of an elected Chair, actively engaged with her selected exec AND leading negs with the government, at this crucial time with Industrial Action being worked up is a MASSIVE detriment to ALL GPs. The GPC exec’s job is practically impossible at the best of times…..without an elected Chair it is impossible.

The interests of an individual are important, but not more so than the entire Profession unfortunately. One could almost argue that the first issue is currently holding hostage the interests of everyone else. Is the status quo really an option?

Grant Jonathan Ingrams 19 July, 2023 9:17 pm

Sorry, but this is the GPC again shooting itself in its foot. The problem is the BMA’s resolution process which is not fit for purpose. The motion should be calling on the BMA to resolve any outstanding issues immediately. The committee is again infighting rather than rallying to the purpose of getting the job done and a workable contract in place. This just plays into the hands of the government. GPC members for avoidance of doubt the enemies are BMA processes and the government. The enemy are not other GPC members.

Mark Coley 20 July, 2023 1:06 am

Two members of the current GPC exec were actually elected, not selected, one being there to provide maternity cover. Many social media posts seem unaware that there was a democratic rule change since the earlier appointments of two current exec members. Those two appointments occurred in line with the democratic processes in place at the time.