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Wider BMA ‘no longer adequately represents GPs’, say LMCs

Wider BMA ‘no longer adequately represents GPs’, say LMCs

The BMA outside of its various GP committees ‘no longer adequately represents all GPs’, a motion passed at the UK LMC Conference said.

However, delegates voted against a motion that called on GPs to create a trade union independent of the BMA.

They did urge GPC UK to ‘explore options regarding improving and safeguarding GP representation within the BMA, to prevent decisions about general practice being made by a body in which GPs are a minority’.

Dr Gerard McHale, a GP in south London, said the motion he proposed ‘comes from a deep concern myself and others have about the way in which the BMA is now representing general practice’.

‘Some of you will say will it’s never been great. But I see a change in the last few years, the change by the way in which the politicalisation of groups within the organisation has taken on and taken control, intimidating, undermining and not allowing minority voices or even substantial minority voices to have a say in relation from elections and the divisional changes.’

Dr Euan Strachan-Orr, a GP in Liverpool, said: ‘Would you allow a consultant to tell you how to run your partnership? Would you allow registrars, medical students and house officers to negotiate your GMS contract? Do you want non-GPs and the BMA ARM to instruct your GPC negotiators across the United Kingdom how to do their job?’

Speaking against the motion, Dr Annie Farrell from Liverpool LMC said: ‘Calling for GPC UK and the GPDF to fund trade union representation outside the BMA right now, when things feel so precarious and we’re actively looking at options for industrial action, to me it would be a distraction and a mistake.’

Dr Vicky Theakston, from Gateshead and South Tyneside, said: ‘There’s plenty of room for improvement within the association. But when all doctors are in the same leaky NHS boat, it’s not the time to fuel the division.’

This is not the first time the notion of an LMC-led national GP representative body has been discussed at conference.

Pulse exclusively revealed two years ago that work was under way to explore the creation of a new representative body for GPs, in the form of a ‘Natyional Association of LMCs’.

This work was also on the instruction from LMCs, however the GPDF has since undergone a change of leadership, with the successors having said they had ‘no intentions’ of creating such an organisation.

Commenting on the news from today’s LMC conference, BMA council chair Philip Banfield said: ‘Our Association is proud to represent all doctors, and we stand with our close to 40,000 GP members, a number that is expanding, as GPs find that the BMA enables them to organise and take collective action when they focus on what their aims and objectives are.

‘The passing of this motion reflects the sentiment that is driving the radical transformation of the BMA’s trade union function to complement its established role as an authoritative professional association, and we welcome such debate and challenge.’

Motion in full

That conference has significant concerns about visible reduction in the representation of GPs within the BMA over the last two years, including changes to procedures for electing representatives to the 2024 BMA Annual Representative Meeting, and: 
(i) believes that with the exception of the GPCs, the BMA no longer adequately represents all GPs CARRIED
(ii) calls upon the GPC UK to consider GP relevant motions passed at ARM, but not to enact them unless they are consistent with UK LMC conference policy CARRIED
(iii) requires the GPCs to analyse the evolving political movements in other branches of practice so that they may be better understood, learned from and that GPs can be appropriately protected from any conflicts of interest CARRIED
(iv) calls on GPC UK to explore options regarding improving and safeguarding GP representation within the BMA, to prevent decisions about general practice being made by a body in which GPs are a minority CARRIED
(v) requires GPC UK, GPDF and NIGPDF to explore and, if viable, enact and fund GP trade union representation independent of the BMA, whilst retaining close links with secondary care colleagues. LOST



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

Dave Haddock 24 May, 2024 4:12 pm

BMA have been part of the problem for a long time.