Most of us are still trying to make sense of the general election result, which returned a minority Conservative Government.
While the election was called on the issue of leaving the EU, it has become abundantly clear that the public were just as interested in domestic issues – and in particular, the NHS.
Reflecting on the TV debates, media coverage and public views, it is evident that the electorate is no longer prepared to put up with the political pretence of promising a comprehensive NHS without ministers backing this up by providing the resources needed to care for the growing needs of the population.
This was highlighted in health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s own constituency, where BMA member and GP Louise Irvine (NHS Action Party) contested the seat and received more than 12,000 votes (which was a 20 per cent share of the vote in that constituency overall) – a significant increase from the 4,851 votes which she received in 2015. This was a great achievement by Louise, which starkly underlined the vital importance of the NHS in the public’s eye.
While we have the same Government and the same health secretary, there is a clear mandate from the electorate for a change of policy, and a call for a new post-election manifesto that abandons austerity and cuts, in favour of funding the NHS properly so that doctors have the time and tools to care for patients. The fact we have a minority Government can also act as leverage, with pressure from other parties and wider stakeholders, to enable this – and this will be a priority for the BMA.
BMA council chair
On the theme of elections, I am deeply honoured to have been elected as BMA council chair to succeed Mark Porter who will be concluding his five-year tenure.
I will be taking up the post on 29 June, having served as BMA GPs committee chair for four years. You can read more about my appointment here. A new GPC chair will be elected on 20 July 2017.
This move in no way detracts from my absolute and continued commitment to general practice. I believe it will be of benefit that the chair of the BMA is rooted in general practice, at a time when healthcare policy across all four nations is focused on the expanded role of care in the community.
I have always argued that addressing the crisis in general practice requires wider changes in the NHS, which needs more funds of which general practice should receive a larger and just share. We need a system that supports general practice rather than placing inappropriate and unresourced burdens on it. My broader role in the BMA will give me greater influence to try and achieve these goals.
With best wishes,
BMA GPs committee chair
The BMA annual representative meeting
As you are aware, the BMA holds an annual representative meeting in which around 600 doctors representing local BMA regions and divisions across the UK come together to discuss and debate a range of issues affecting the profession, from NHS funding to medical ethics.
It agrees resolutions following the debate of motions proposed by members from up and down the UK, which form the basis of BMA policy. There is dedicated time to debate matters relating to each branch of practice, and I will be updating the conference in my speech as GPC chair in the general practice section.
This year the ARM is being held in Bournemouth, from 26 to 29 June. You can read more about the ARM and view the agenda and motions for debate here
Meet the team – David Bailey
As you know, over the last few months, I have been introducing you to the policy leads who so ably support the GPC executive in developing and implementing strategy, and delivering our responsibilities. In this issue, I would like to introduce you to David Bailey – our policy lead for dispensing issues.
David graduated from Cardiff University and has been a GP partner in the Rhymney Valley South Wales since 1986. The practice was part dispensing for 20 years. He was elected to GPC UK in 2004 and a year prior to that became deputy chair of GPC Wales before being elected chair in 2007 and joining the UK negotiating team where his responsibilities included dispensing.
He led the negotiations which led to the fee-scale agreement which is common to England and Wales as are all the dispensing regulations – unlike the rest of the general medical services contract. He completed his term of office as chair of GPCW in 2013 and was asked by his successor to stay on as deputy chair. He has retained a close interest in dispensing matters and maintained regular contact with colleagues at the Dispensing Doctors Association. Since 2014 he has also chaired BMA pensions.
Commenting on his appointment as policy lead for dispensing he said: ‘If we are to retain resilience throughout rural general practice it is essential that in particular the reimbursement regulations for dispensing doctors are made fit for purpose once again. The current situation where some medicines can be dispensed at a loss cannot continue and with colleagues we need to restore a level playing field for dispensing GPs and their patients.’
GP trainees regional elections now open
Are you a GP trainee and interested in becoming involved with the BMA’s governance structure?
Nominate yourself in the GP trainees subcommittee regional elections to play a part in influencing the future of general practice. Nominations are open from Monday 12 June for the GP trainees subcommittee 2017-2019 in the following 10 regional constituencies:
– Northern Ireland
– (Mersey Deanery region of North West LETB)
– Peninsula (Peninsula Deanery region of South West LETB)
– Scotland, North
– London, North West
– Kent Surrey Sussex
– West Midlands
If you would like to get involved in the work of the subcommittee, and really make a difference to the lives of your fellow GP trainees, please consider standing for election. Please note that candidates do not have to be BMA members.
Log in and nominate yourself, you will see details for the GP trainee elections. Nominations will close at 5pm, Monday 3 July 2017.
For further queries about the GP trainees subcommittee please email firstname.lastname@example.org