A petition calling for the withdrawal of the no-confidence vote in the BMA GP Committee chair has received over 350 signatures.
GPC England voted this morning to oust its chair Dr Farah Jameel, who is currently on maternity leave, and hold new elections.
The motion, put forward by committee members, proposed that the GPCE is ‘deeply concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the status of the alleged suspension’ of Dr Jameel, and demanded new elections be held imminently.
The petition against the move, launched yesterday, said the undersigned ‘believe that [Dr Jameel] has been unfairly treated on the basis of a number of protected characteristics’.
Dr 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 BMA staff.
She began maternity leave at around the same time as her suspension, and as such formal hearings have not yet taken place.
Earlier in 2022, Pulse reported that Dr Jameel had taken time off ill with stress following sexist comments made to her.
The petition, created by nursing associate Mushtag Kahin and consultant eye surgeon Dr Evelyn Mensah, said: ‘We have NO confidence in the BMA and how it treats people from the global majority.
‘We need a leadership that can address issues of discrimination such as sexism, racism and anti-Blackness as described above. There is an apparent message that members of the global majority are not welcome and do not belong in the BMA.’
However, the vote of no confidence was proposed and passed by elected members of GPCE rather than the BMA’s executive leadership.
The BMA has confirmed this morning that nominations for the next chair of the GPCE will open soon, with acting chair Dr Kieran Sharrock remaining in place until a new chair is elected.
It also said Dr Jameel would stay on the GPCE as a committee member.
A petition supporter identifying themselves as Yvonne Coghill, director of Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) implementation at NHS England, wrote: ‘How inhumane and thoughtless are the BMA to suspend a woman just about to give birth and to hold a vote of no confidence when she’s on maternity leave.
‘Cowardly behaviour from an organisation that should know better.’
A spokesperson for GMB said the trade union is ‘concerned by accusations that it is sexism and racism that has motivated complaints raised by BMA staff, rather than unacceptable member conduct’.
They added: ‘The BMA has a duty of care to protect its employees from poor behaviour. We are waiting for the outcome of the investigation which has most recently been delayed due to maternity leave.
‘It is disappointing this is being now seemingly prejudiced by unfounded accusations of discrimination.’