The noisy outsider has become the noisy insider. Taking a position of responsibility within the BMA has, fortunately, not stopped Dr Zoe Norris from causing trouble and speaking out loudly on the troubles affecting the profession.
More than anything, the Pulse columnist is a powerful advocate for sessional GPs, and she is happy to go against the rest of the BMA’s GP Committee to further their cause. Dr Norris has led on instigating a legal challenge on death-in-service benefits for locum GPs – an issue brought starkly to light in 2015, when a GP who died was considered not to have ‘died in service’ because she had not been scheduled to work on the day of her death.
She has also been leading on the legal challenges against Capita over missing locum payments and pensions contributions, of which she says ‘we aren’t there yet, but we won’t stop’.
But more than that, she is using her prominence to amplify a voice that has never stopped challenging those in power. Dr Norris’s takedown of the comments about small practices made by Dr Arvind Madan, former NHS England director of primary care, perfectly encapsulated the feelings of grassroots GPs – something that is not always a forte of GPC officials.
Dr Norris has also been one of those leading the GP response to the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba. At the LMCs Conference in March, she proposed the motion of no confidence in the GMC following its handling of the case. Despite BMA officials advising local leaders to vote against it, the motion was successful.
She enjoys enduring popularity among grassroots GPs. As one GP put it: ‘She is not afraid to challenge the BMA establishment, often facing consequences for doing so.’
Dr Norris herself says her priority is being an advocate for sessional GPs. ‘I want to finish my term as chair of the sessionals subcommittee with a strong committee who are involved in all aspects of GPC, and with the voices who think we aren’t “proper” GPs finally in the minority.’
Why influential: A BMA official who speaks for the grassroots
What others say about her: ‘Education, teaching, blogging, writing and doctoring… she does it all brilliantly’
Random fact: ‘I’ve never really understood eyes…’