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BMA GP Committee criticised for being ‘distant’ from LMCs

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The UK LMCs conference have voted in favour of the publication of the BMA’s GP Committee voting behaviours.

It comes amid criticism of the GP Committee for being ‘distant’ from LMCs and frontline GPs.

A motion demanding ‘more transparency and accountability’ from the GPC and for member voting behaviours to be ‘circulated within LMC weekly updates’ has been passed, gaining approval from 71% of 261 voting delegates.

Proposing the motion, Dr Raman Nijjar of Oxfordshire LMC said ‘GPs and LMCs feel distanced from GPC more than ever’.

He added: ‘We need to rebuild the broken link between GPs and the GPC. Continuing with the status quo is not working, it needs fixing.’

Also speaking in favour of the motion, Berkshire LMC representative – and first-term voting GPC member – Dr Simon Ruffle said the motion should not be seen as an ‘ad hominem attack on GPC members or the executive team’.

He added: ‘There is a disconnect – [grassroots GPs] do not trust the GPC. That disconnect travels from the LMC’s relationships with the GPC and for some GPC members, to their executive.

‘As a voting GPC member, I feel disconnected from the executive.’

But responding to the motion, GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said any proposals must not open up GPC members to ‘bullying’.

He told the conference: ‘[GPC members] are often involved in guiding us in confidential negotiations so it is important that we have the ability to take votes confidentially. 

‘We also need to avoid the issue of bullying and intimidation, particularly in social media terms with the publication of information. So we would be concerned about that – not just about the bullying that might happen but also the ability for colleagues on GPC to make their views known without necessarily their employees or their other partners constraining what they can do.’

It comes as LMCs also today voted in favour of individual practices being contracted for a future Covid vaccine DES, as well as a ‘full impact assessment’ into e-consultations amid reports that practices are ‘overwhelmed’.

Motion in full

AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY OXFORDSHIRE: That conference believes that the recent reforms made to the GPC have distanced it from LMCs and the frontline profession, and:

  • (i) believes that as part of the BMA the GPC is naturally conflicted in its ability to truly represent the interests of GPs and lacks accountability to LMCs and to LMC Conference LOST
  • (ii) demands more transparency and accountability from GPC UK and requests that GPC UK member voting behaviours are circulated within LMC weekly updates PASSED
  • (iii) calls on GPDF to commission a thorough review of the current representative structure, particularly seeking the views of LMCs PASSED
  • (iv) mandates GPDF to explore alternative options to the current structure, including the formation of a National Council of LMCs LOST
  • (v) asks GPDF to consider whether general practice would be better served by a body politic independent of the BMA. LOST

Source: BMA