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Health bill rebel GP elected to GPC

Exclusive: Rebel GP Paddy Glackin, whose leadership-defying motion calling for the health bill to be scrapped was passed at the BMA's annual representative meeting, has been elected to the GPC.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Dr Glackin - who is also a medical director of Londonwide LMCs - said that his success in pushing through the policy and his election to the GP leadership body were ‘probably not unrelated'.

Dr Glackin said: ‘My biggest priority, and probably that of the entire profession, in the coming year is that the most toxic elements in the bill are removed. We must use whatever influence we can to take that forward.'

Dr Glackin criticised BMA leaders, including the association's chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum, for opposing his motion calling for the health bill to be withdrawn during debate at the ARM. Dr Meldrum had cautioned that campaigning for the bill to be withdrawn entirely risked losing 'some of the ground we have already taken'.

Dr Glackin told Pulse: ‘I think the current leadership did themselves down by objecting because they have achieved quite a bit. Given that the Government were on the back foot, the error made by the leadership was in not realising that they were being hoodwinked by the Government and the strength of feeling among the membership.'

However Dr Glackin did not call for Dr Meldrum to resign over what he called ‘a single misjudgement'm and added that it would be ‘very, very foolish of us to be descending into some sort of civil war.'

'It's not what we want or what the country needs,' he said.

Fellow GPC member Dr Helena McKeown, who also sits on BMA Council, told Pulse that the ‘fiery' Dr Glackin would ‘enliven' future GPC meetings.

‘Paddy did some excellent research on the bill and explained why the amended proposed legislation was no longer worth pursuing,' she said. 'That approach convinced people to back both his motion and his bid to be on the GPC.'

‘I think the membership were clear about the direction of travel and obviously we would expect the leadership to reflect that and I've no doubt they will.'