Exclusive The BMA has told GP Committee members they must join the BMA immediately to remain part of the committee and vote in this week’s elections.
The GPC is due to meet on Thursday and vote on which of two nominees will succeed Dr Richard Vautrey as chair of the committee.
But in an email sent to GPC members yesterday, seen by Pulse, the BMA said GPC members who are not already BMA members must join within the next 48 hours or they will be considered to have ‘resigned’ their place on the committee.
It said this is due to a change in BMA byelaws agreed in September that ‘requires all individuals involved in BMA business who are eligible for BMA membership to be and continue to be BMA members’, including medical students and doctors elected or appointed to BMA committees.
The email said: ‘Having run a membership search in advance of our first of session committee meetings, our records indicate that you are not currently a BMA member, however, you are a member of the General Practitioners England Committee (GPCE). In order to remain a member of the GPCE, you will need to become a BMA member.
‘Given that this change has only recently been made, we would normally ask that you join the BMA in the next seven calendar days of this email, however as GPCE is on Thursday, we would ask that you join within the next 48 hours.’
It added: ‘If you still do not want to remain a member of the BMA, you will be seen to have resigned your position on the committee.
‘I am sure you will agree that it is an important principle that those that are appointed and elected to represent and influence decisions that impact BMA members are also members themselves.’
A BMA spokesperson told Pulse: ‘At the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting in September of this year, a motion was passed which changed some of the articles and byelaws of the association. This change stipulated that members of BMA committees must, going forward, also be members of the BMA. This is standard practice in other trade unions, as part of good governance, to ensure that trade union business is determined by its members.
‘Since September, the association has been going through a number of internal processes to make sure all those affected by these changes would be made aware and given the opportunity to join the BMA. These changes applied to all BMA committees and it is regrettable that some committee members did not receive this information in as timely a fashion as we would have liked but we are working with them to find the best resolution going forward.’
Two candidates have been nominated for the next chair of GPC England – Dr Farah Jameel and Dr Chandra Kanneganti.
Dr Vautrey this month announced he was standing down from the role he had held for four years.