GP Survival, which represents 8,000 GPs, is petitioning for the resignation of Dr Arvind Madan in light of his comments supporting GP practice closures.
Meanwhile, the BMA has written to NHS England’s primary care director asking him to ‘immediately clarify’ comments suggesting small GP practices closing is not a problem.
As Pulse revealed on Wednesday, Dr Madan has suggested that GPs should be ‘pleased’ when small practices close, as there are ‘too many’ of them struggling to meet patient demand.
BMA GP Committee executive team member Dr Krishna Kasaraneni said: ‘It is extremely disappointing that Dr Madan seemingly fails to recognise the value of smaller practices, the GPs that run them and the high standards of care they provide to their patients.
‘At a time when morale among the GP workforce – struggling with lack of investment, increasing workload and bureaucracy – is already worryingly low, it is no surprise that the response to such a senior NHS figure’s comments has been one of deep anger among the profession.
‘We have therefore written to Dr Madan, urging him to immediately clarify his comments and reassure smaller practices that he not only values the contribution they make to the health service, but that any moves to encourage providers to work together will be done in a positive way, rather than by forcing them to fail.’
GP Survival is calling for NHS bosses to remove Dr Madan from the post because they believe keeping him in the role is ‘no longer compatible with serving the needs of all practices in NHS England’.
The open letter to health secretary Matt Hancock and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens says its members ‘are requesting that Dr Arvind Madan is removed from his position’ following ‘his attributable comments in an article in Pulse, and now reported in mainstream media’.
The letter, signed by GP Survival chair Dr Alan Woodall, continues: ‘His position is based on no hard evidence of benefit of larger practices other than his personal belief, and is an insult to the efforts of hardworking colleagues in small practices who deliver the excellent high quality care to their patients, and who via delivery of personal continuity of care over many years improve health and reduce long-term costs to the NHS.
‘We believe that he has damaged the confidence of GPs and his continued position, especially for those working in smaller practices, is incompatible with helping build their confidence to invest and recruit, and further demoralises our profession, at a time when we are already facing significant challenges.’
It goes on to say that Hurley Group partner Dr Madan, who works at ‘one of the largest practices in England, has demonstrated a clear conflict of interest in expressing his ambivalence to support smaller practices’ and demands ‘that a replacement is sought urgently who is more sympathetic to the survival of all practices’.
BMA GP Committee member Dr Dean Eggitt, medical secretary for Doncaster LMC, said that in his personal opinion ‘if an individual’s direction of travel is out of step with national negotiations then he should question whether or not he should be part of those national negotiations’.
‘So I think somebody at NHS England should question whether Dr Madan is suitable to be on the NHS England negotiating team’.
Londonwide LMCs chief exeucutive Dr Michelle Drage said: ‘This is an unfortunate statement, which I hope that when reflected upon will not further undermine the confidence and sustainability of London’s many small-sized practices.
‘It is so frustrating for those of us across the system who are trying so hard to prevent the destabilisation of what are perfectly viable practices, which patients in London place so much value and trust in.
‘These and other practices will now believe that NHS England has no interest in them. Saying this couldn’t be more counter-productive.’
@cgps_gp@NHSEngland@ClareGerada@arvindmadan@MattHancock@pulsetoday GPSurvival rep. 8000 GPs writes open letter petition calling for resignation of Dr Madan from NHSE position over Pulse attributable comments.
— Alan Woodall #FBPE (@DrAlanWoodall) August 2, 2018
— PulseToday (@pulsetoday) August 2, 2018