The BMA’s GP Committee for England will elect a new chair this week, following last week’s no-confidence vote.
The committee voted in favour of a motion proposing it was ‘deeply concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the status of the alleged suspension’ of chair Dr Farah Jameel, and demanded new elections be held imminently.
Nominations for the next chair and deputy chairs opened today and, in an update to members, GCPE deputy chair Dr Richard Van Mellaerts confirmed that elections will be held this week, with results to be announced by the end of the week.
He said: ‘The verdict was that the committee had no confidence in [Dr Jameel’s] leadership, and so she and her officer team, including myself, fell.
‘There will be an election next week for both chair and officers, with results in the same week.’
Committee members who proposed the motion said ‘democratic representation of the profession’ was crucial, especially ahead of ‘significant impending contractual and political upheaval’ over the next year.
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 the organisation’s staff.
Formal hearings into the complaint have not yet taken place due to Dr Jameel’s ongoing maternity leave, which she began at around the same time as her suspension towards the end of last year.
Dr Kieran Sharrock, a GP in Lincolnshire, is currently standing in as acting chair and will remain in the post until a new chair is elected.
Last week, GPs and other healthcare professionals expressed concern about the fairness of this vote of no confidence, with a petition calling for its withdrawal having received over 600 signatures.
One LMC confederation said it would be ‘natural’ for colleagues to be concerned that her removal was ‘discriminatory’.
However, the BMA said no legal obligations were breached in its handling of Dr Jameel’s removal.
Pulse understands that the GPCE chair position does not hold an employment contract with the BMA and therefore the Equality Act 2010, which legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace, may not apply.