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Is the BMA showing its teeth?

When we received the National Audit Office report on NHS Property Services at Pulse Towers, we were surprised at how anti-GP the rhetoric was. It concluded that GPs felt paying the fees to NHS Property Services was ‘optional’ and implied that GPs’ failure to pay the market rate for the property was negatively impacting patient care as the money owed to the NHS could be spent on operations and that.

All of which was, of course, misguided. Demands from NHS Property Services have rocketed in recent years, most notably for service charges – which are not reimbursed.

We were pretty sure the BMA would make these points, but in a very BMA-type way – with lots of ‘disappointment’ expressed.

The BMA’s hands are sometimes tied, so it’s refreshing that they came out fighting

So, when the BMA sent excerpts from Dr Richard Vautrey’s speech at the BMA Annual Representatives Meeting, we were pleasantly surprised. In response to the report, Dr Vautrey announced that the BMA was taking legal action against the ‘astronomical’ fees being charged by NHS Property Services.

I know the BMA’s hands are sometimes tied on issues, and they have to have more sober responses than their members would like. So it is refreshing that, in response to a misguided report that threatened to paint GPs in a poor light, they came out fighting.

Whether they will win is another matter. But this is a BMA GPs would no doubt rather see.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at