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Senior BMA GPs resign as talks with NHS England resume

By 07/09/2021No Comments

GPC England policy lead Dr Julius Parker and deputy policy lead Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer are among those who have stepped back from their roles, with one further GP understood also to have resigned.

In an email sent to the BMA GP committee executive on the morning of 3 September before the outcome of a vote on whether to restart talks was confirmed, Dr Parker wrote: ‘Katie and I wanted to inform GPC England that we are resigning as policy and deputy policy lead for contracts and regulations with immediate effect.

‘We have no confidence in the GPC England current leadership and no longer wish to be associated with it via these roles.’

NHS talks

The BMA’s GP committee announced last week it would resume formal talks with NHS England after a vote at an emergency meeting on 3 September.

A total of 59% of GPC members backed the motion: ‘GPC England agrees to resume formal meetings with NHS England and NHS Improvement’ – although 39% voted against and a further 2% abstained.

The vote brought to an end a five-month period in which formal talks between the GPC and NHS England officials have been paused.

Talks were broken off in May this year after the BMA’s GP committee passed a vote of no confidence in NHS England.

Face-to-face appointments

The vote came as general practice reacted with fury to a ‘tone deaf’ letter from NHS England’s leaders ordering practices to offer face-to-face appointments to all patients who wanted them.

The letter triggered calls for the resignation of NHS England’s clinical director of primary care, and came months after an earlier letter from NHS England over face-to-face appointments had triggered an angry response from GPs.

GP practices have faced a wave of criticism over access to face-to-face appointments, despite delivering more than half of appointments in person throughout the pandemic in addition to millions of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Responding to the resignations, a BMA spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry to see members of the committee stepping down from their positions and are grateful for their dedication and contributions to the work of GPC.

‘We are confident that standards were upheld and that due process was followed during last week’s meeting and the subsequent voting process.’

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