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New BMA GPC Chair Warns On 'Survival' of General Practice

The new chair of the BMA's GP Committee (GPC) for England said her immediate focus and greatest challenge was to "safeguard the very survival of our profession".

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, who took up her post last Thursday, said she hoped to meet with the Prime Minister and Health Secretary shortly to discuss key issues of the GP contract.

Dr Bramall-Stainer's election followed the controversial departure of her predecessor, Dr Farah Jameel, who was removed from office after a vote of no confidence last month. Dr Jameel, who was elected GPC England's first female chair in November 2021, took sick leave 4 months later "against a background of sexist comments and culture", according to primary care magazine, Pulse

In November last year, it was reported she was temporarily suspended in the wake of complaints from BMA staff. However, as late as last week, The BMJ reported that the Association would "neither confirm nor deny" that Dr Jameel, who is on maternity leave, had been suspended.

"No Confidence" Vote

The election of a new chair came after the GPC England backed a motion in July saying it was "deeply concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the status of the alleged suspension" of Dr Jameel, but that it had "no alternative but to declare that this committee has no confidence in the current elected chair", as a procedural tool for electing a replacement. 

New incumbent, Dr Bramall-Stainer, is a salaried GP in Hoddesdon. She has been chief executive of Cambridgeshire Local Medical Committee (LMC) and chair of the UK Conference of LMCs since 2019. Prior to this she sat as an ex officio member of GPC UK and GPC England, and was the elected member representing the Eastern region on the BMA Council. 

Dr Bramall-Stainer joined the GPC in 2007, represented GP trainees and junior doctors during Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) negotiations, and became medical director for six London LMCs in 2016.

"Greatest Challenge" to Safeguard the Profession's Survival

"I am very grateful to GPC England for its support and pay tribute to the outgoing team for their commitment and hard work," she said following confirmation of her election. "As GPC England begins a new chapter, our focus and greatest challenge is to safeguard the very survival of our profession."

Among her first jobs in the new post would be "writing to Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay in the coming weeks to ask to meet with them to discuss how we can better redistribute investment into the core GP contract", she said.

Outgoing acting chair Dr Kieran Sharrock — who had stood against Dr Bramall-Stainer in the contest — offered his congratulations and said he looked forward to "returning to the back bench", where he promised to support the new chair and her team in their work "to negotiate the contract desperately needed by the profession". 

Three deputies to the chair also elected last week are Dr David Wrigley, Dr Julius Parker, and Dr Samira Anane.

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