GPonline reported on 5 March that voting to elect a GP committee representative for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire had been suspended following claims that a candidate had sent out an unsolicited message canvassing support.
BMA guidelines say candidates ‘must not use BMA resources to canvass voters and should not send them unsolicited communications’.
The BMA has now confirmed that an independent investigation is underway – but has yet to set a deadline for re-starting the election process. Voting has now been paused for more than three weeks in Derbyshire and Nottingham, while elections in other areas closed on 19 March.
In an update on the election, a BMA spokesperson said: ‘The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire regional elections to GPC remain paused for the time being while an independent investigation is carried out further to information that has been provided to the returning officer.
‘We continue to keep the candidates in this election updated and hope this will be completed as quickly as possible.’
The investigation comes after an election campaign in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire that saw one candidate withdraw from the election partway through over concerns that GPs in his area had been unable to access the voting system.
The BMA said at the time that it was ‘aware that a nomination has been withdrawn and the elections team have been in contact with the individual directly to reassure them that everything is being done to encourage those who are eligible to vote to do so’.
GPs standing in regional elections for the BMA’s GP committee are up for a three-year term. The GPC has 86 members, 43 of whom are directly elected regional representatives. The remainder are either elected at the annual representative meeting (ARM), appointed from subcommittees or groups, or are ex-officio members.
All GPs who based in the relevant regions – whether or not they are BMA members – are eligible to participate in elections, and must log into the BMA online elections system to cast their vote electronically. Those who are not BMA members need to have registered for a temporary web account to vote.
The BMA has urged anyone with concerns or questions to contact [email protected]