What Laurence Buckman can offer as the next GPC Chairman
GPs have to start feeling that there is hope. The time has come to begin the fight back for them, their practices and their patients. I have always made clear what bothered me about nGMS and recognise that the results of negotiations have not been to everyone’s liking. I have done my best to share corporate responsibility over what has been delivered with the rest of the negotiating team. The balance between the need to do a deal and the wish to walk away is a very fine one. Negotiating is not easy - I have had to bite my tongue when goaded by civil servants - but being honest with GPC is much harder as it requires me to admit when I am wrong to my peers and to put a case to colleagues when I have misgivings myself. We must inspire GPs to move on from a very low point. This will take honesty, enthusiasm, tenacity, an articulate case based on evidence, a refusal to back down where we know we are right and an ability to work with government even when we have a difficult case to put to them. I believe I can lead you to do this for our colleagues who need it so badly.
I think I have these qualities and that my record to date confirms this. I came to GPC as a grass-roots GP and continue to do my own on-call and provide a personal service to my patients in single-handed practice. I cut my teeth as a member of Herts and Barnet LMCs and the Conference of LMCs and served my colleagues locally and nationally before I became a GPC member in 1991. I have been on almost every sub-committee and the JCPTGP and joint RCGP/GPC committees. Since you elected me to be your negotiator in 1997, I have tried hard to represent all kinds of GPs whatever their contractual status. I believe my co-chairing of the Quality & Outcomes Framework negotiations, and involvement in the IT, HR and education negotiations and the Technical Steering Committee has helped GPs. I also chair the GMC Working Group of Council, reasonably, I hope, as I fear that the next fight will be in the Revalidation arena. We must fight the constant attempts to de-professionalise doctors. Wherever I have needed to, I have put our case without fear or favour as, apart from getting a deal, there is nothing government has on me or that I want from them. I have tried to speak out clearly when it mattered, represented GPC views in places where things looked bad, spoken at LMC Conferences where the mood was difficult and presented evidence truthfully and with a sense of realism. Only you can tell if I have succeeded.
How would I alter our relationship with government? While remaining polite, we have to be, and be seen to be, much more robust in our dealings with those who are determined to press their agenda despite evidence or support. Their misuse of the media has to be met by our own honesty and a refusal to allow ourselves to be constantly portrayed as the villains of the NHS. I want to be able to do business with whoever is in power and for them to understand what we can do for them through co-operation. I see frequent contact and effective personal relationships as key components of that approach. We have to be able to “trade” with ministers and senior civil servants. I have no problem with breaking bad news to them. Although I would be vigorous when dealing with government intransigence, I would not veer towards recklessness as ten years of negotiation have taught me the wisdom of not always hitting back. I am experienced enough to contain my naturally robust nature.
I see the role of trade unionist as central to the job of chairman of GPC. My first responsibility is to represent GPs of every type to anyone who has something to do with us. The chairman is there to defend GPs’ interests first, patients second and the NHS and other forms of health care delivery third. Whilst I am a strong supporter of the NHS, I believe that GPC has to support GPs wherever they work, whether GMS, PMS or APMS, provider or performer, principal or not.
My other plans include:
1. The attendance of GPC members at Domestic Negotiators’ and Joint Negotiators’ meetings in rotation. All of you should be able to witness what the negotiators do and why decisions are taken.
2. An internal “Work in progress” web diary available to GPC members updated weekly. This would show what the negotiators have been doing and what outcomes there were if any. I wish to be as open as possible.
3. GPC members doing more for the GPC. Anything that the negotiators do not need to do should be delegated to members (utilising expertise they have, or could acquire) and a subsequent reporting back from the member to the GPC without the need for routine debate. The GPC is part of a team, not the witnesses to one.
4. Developing a more corporate basis for our decision-making and policy setting. Once we have written it, we should all sing from the same hymn sheet.
5. Better ways of dealing with hot topics. We need to prepare ourselves for swifter responses that do more for GPs.
6. In order to have more informed debates, I would encourage the secretariat and members to develop papers covering the pros and cons of issues so that new points can be raised in debate in rather less time. We need more analysis and more strategic thinking and less unfocussed debate. We have so little time, we should use it productively.
7. I would like to have subcommittee meetings on the same days as GPC so that more matters could be devolved to subcommittees and get quicker responses.
8. A “Rumourgram” web page that would deal with misleading stories from whatever source. I believe that we are far too slow to rebut nonsense that scares colleagues. I want to give GPs hope and the feeling that we are fighting for them.
The GPC needs to become more outward looking, to involve LMCs and GPs in its decision-making and to develop an open and crusading style, to make GPs feel part of us rather than helpless and distrusting observers of a process they fear. We are that GPC. I would like to be the leader that delivers the vision of hope with you.
Self-assessment of suitability for the role of Chairman of GPC by Laurence Buckman
I believe I am ready to be the political leader of the GPC after 16 years on the Committee, 10 years as a negotiator and three years as the Deputy Chairman.
I have chaired the GPC Education subcommittee and the GMC Working Group of BMA Council. I have co-chaired the QOF negotiating group, and played a major role in all the nGMS negotiations to date. In the absence of the Chairman, I have chaired the main negotiations and the domestic negotiators’ meetings. I have been the lead negotiator on the Technical Steering Committee that determines economic evidence for our pay for the last eight years. I believe I have done these competently and with good humour and that I have led our side fairly and inclusively. I am the UK negotiator who links with Northern Ireland and regularly attend the meetings of NIGPC as well as their LMC Conference. I am very aware of the issues of devolution and determined to deliver the benefits of a UK deal to every part of the UK, whilst recognising the diversity within, and independence of, each country. I have had a wide range of responsibilities within the negotiating team over the last 10 years. These have covered finance, education, IT, regulation, sessional doctors, and registrars although I have sat on most of the other subcommittees over the years as well as several joint committees with the RCGP. I was one of the authors of Good Medical Practice for GPs as well as a JCPTGP visitor.
I answered for my brief to Conference and believe that I respond to direct questions without evasion. I think that those who hear me trust what I say and I realise that there have been times when I have persuaded others to change their minds. I have always had the principles that I will never commend anything – even if I like it – and that I would resign if I were forced to agree to deliver something with which I profoundly disagreed. This has never happened and I have stuck dutifully to my brief and to policy. I think I know how grass-roots GPs feel and that I can express this in language they understand. On BMA Council, I hope I am seen as a voice of realism and reason. I certainly seem to be listened to.
I have represented GPC at the various political inter-craft fora within and outside this house as well as at many conferences. In all of them, I have continued to put the GPC position even when this has been unpopular with my audience. Such problems do not discomfort me as I rather enjoy the “Lions’ Den” experience.
Over the last 10 years, I have learnt to work within a team and with our talented office, economic unit, public affairs division and other parts of the BMA. I think I am a team player who can coax the best out of someone and who can bring junior colleagues along. I certainly intend to follow this path if elected. Equally, I listen very carefully to advice and will allow myself to be diverted from my naturally less risk-averse path if it is clearly more sensible to do so. As you might expect with a psychotherapy-trained GP, I can give difficult messages to the team and receive them in return. I believe I can appraise fairly and take criticism without being wounded by it. I feel that I could mould and support a team around our mutual talents and that I could and would delegate without discomfort.
I have been on three negotiator courses and know how to conduct myself in negotiation. I use the techniques I have learnt to plan and then deliver on our strategic thinking with tactics that will generate results rather than war. I like to prepare meticulously. I make it my business always to know more about the other sides to a deal than they do about me and I know that such planning and debriefing is respected by our other partners to negotiations.
I have been a director of the GPDF in the past and understand the role of a director and the relationship between the Fund and the Committee and its work.
I have met most government health ministers and opposition health spokesmen and hope that I have been able to get our position across with civility and humour as well as a little passion. I have met almost all the key civil servants and government advisers over the years and have good relationships with some of them as well as with those who represent the NHS Employers. There are people who I know will tell me the truth from the inside and I have remained in touch with them even when things have become difficult between GPC and the Department in public.
Since my early days as a GP who attended LMC Conference, I have represented doctors as a spokesman to the print and broadcast media – initially as an agitator and progressively as a trained communicator for the BMA. I have attended three media training days, as well as receiving constant advice from our public affairs division. I can deal with awkward questions and like the cut and thrust of live television and radio. I know how not to let my exuberance run away with me. I have developed good relationships with the media, who often ask me to present difficult messages to the public. I like speaking in public and have been on every road-show series, visited many LMCs to talk and have been the after-dinner speaker at many BMA and LMC functions. Feedback to me on my performance is generally good.
I believe I have the qualities of a GPC Chairman and that my record to date confirms this. I came to GPC as a grass-roots GP and continue to do my own on-call and provide a personal service to my patients in single-handed practice. I learnt as a member of Herts and Barnet LMCs and the Conference of LMCs and served my colleagues locally before I was elected to GPC. Wherever I have needed to, I have put our case without fear or favour. I have tried to speak out clearly when it mattered, represented GPC views in places where things looked bad, spoken at LMC Conferences where the mood was difficult and presented evidence truthfully and with a sense of realism. I believe I could be the next GPC Chairman.
Statement from Andrew Dearden:
Over the past 10 years, I have served as Bro Taf LMC secretary, as Chairman of the BMA Community Care Committee. (2000–4) and a member of BMA Council (2004-). I currently serve as the Chairman of the BMA Pensions Committee (2004-) which I would stand down from, if elected as GPC Chairman, so that I might be able to fully devote all my time and efforts to this new role.
I feel that I have shown that I prefer to use my whole committee in developing policy, giving, and modifying, the negotiating mandate to the negotiators when needed and in wanting to involve my whole team / committee in decision making. I tend to work on the basis that as Chairman I am expected to represent the views of individual GPs, the profession and the committee. My personal philosophy is that “I was elected to chair the committee, not BE the committee”. My style of leadership tends to reflect this. I trust those around me to take on work and report back as and when needed and I feel my role as chairman is to use all the skills and talents a committee possesses, not just those of a few. Listening to and considering different views and ideas before deciding a way forward, is, I believe, a sign of a leader that recognises the value of those around them, and recognises that not all good ideas have to, or indeed do, originate with them! I see this as a personal strength, not as a weakness.
This wide range of responsibilities also means that I have frequent contact with the public, patient organisations (e.g. Carers UK), other trade unions, the press, senior civil servants and politicians both at Wales and UK levels. I have endeavoured to build good relationships with all those I deal with but I am also not afraid to state my case clearly and precisely when the occasion requires it. I do not seek confrontation, but neither am I afraid of it. I feel that I know when a “line in the sand” is needed and, importantly, how to keep to it. I have never asked, nor will I ever ask, anyone to do something that I myself have not done or am not prepared to do. I believe this a vital aspect of leadership, that is, to lead from the front, and I believe the courage to be able to do this will be vital over the next few years. I believe my track record of achieving good outcomes from often prolonged and difficult negotiation supports my firm but flexible approach.
The GPC I believe must choose the person it feels will best achieve the overall aims of the committee, who is, and has been, willing and able to defend its principles and constituents and to be the public face of the GPC. This decision I would suggest must be based on the candidates experience, their having a proven track record of results, the desired personal traits of a chairman, the ability to be firm when needed and flexible when appropriate and on whether the person is trusted to always represent the committee and the profession, in a statesmanlike manner. I feel I can provide the leadership that GPs and the GPC will need to face the challenges of the next few years.
I believe I have shown the ability to understand complex issues quickly and to see where specific decisions will or may lead us. I believe that I am able to communicate complex issues and information, (e.g. pensions) clearly and in such a way as to make them understandable to GPs and the public alike. The ability to communicate confidently, and professionally, to be seen as approachable, accessible and be personally trustworthy, both by the public and by GPs, are attributes I believe the new chairman must have.
Reasons for standing: I believe that the committee should have the opportunity to choose an experienced ‘back bench’ member as the next chairman. The election of a non negotiator as chairman, without any change to the negotiating team, will make it clear to the wider profession, government and others that the GPC, like general practice, has the ability to adapt whist retaining its core values.
GPC structure and work: I am offering the GPC a different style of chairmanship acting more collegially than has been the case. There is a considerable underused body of talent and experience in subcommittee chairmen and members; this must be harnessed and put to better use to ensure that the GPC represents GPs as effectively as possible. The GPC must be more focussed in debate and spend less time meeting as a full committee. This will enable more work to be done by subcommittees and ad hoc task groups accountable to the main committee. The full GPC should be directed on setting strategy and holding those charged with implementation to account rather detailed consideration of items. If elected I will work with the representation subcommittee and directors to effect such change enabling the GPC to enhance its position and reputation as effective and responsive at representing GPs.
Relationship with LMCs: The relationship between individual LMCs and the GPC can become strained and the relationship between the BMA and LMCs can sometimes appear hostile. My experience as GPC member, LMC secretary and GPDF chairman equips me to seek a lasting settlement in the interest of the wider GP community, whom we represent.
Protecting General Practice: General Practitioners always respond to the challenges facing them and continue to provide an unparalleled service to their patients. A core duty of the GPC and in particular the chairman is to promote the benefits of, and threats to, General Practice in the UK. The key to UK General Practice is the longitudinal relationship with patients, encapsulated in the registered list. List based General Practice is at risk from the ‘widgetisation’ of health away from our holistic patient centred approach. Whilst the recent announcement (4 July) of another NHS review might provide an opportunity to influence English government policy, it is still essential to press the case for general practice as the bed-rock of health care. The threats of non GP based primary medical services may be lower in the other parts of the UK, but they do exist and it is vital that the public and politicians throughout the UK understand why such threats must be contained.
Initial priorities: The priorities for the incoming chairman are to seek an increase in funding for essential services, to protect practices facing funding threats, to refute un-resourced and inappropriate changes to access arrangements, to seek a way back for those PMS doctors seeking to work within nationally agreed framework, and to ensure that the arrangements for regulation are appropriate. Other key areas of work include IT, PBC, and the outcome of the GP survey
Personal: My candidacy has the support of my partners, LMC officers and wife. If elected I would demit office as LMC secretary and as chairman the Professional Fees Committee; I would not seek re-election as chairman of the GPDF but would seek election as a director. I have no intention of canvassing, but would be happy to answer members’ questions by email or in person.
John Canning - Personal assessment against the role profile
This assessment is based on my experience as Chairman of Conference, GPDF, C&P subcommittee, Professional Fees and Governance committees and as well as local roles in my LMC and practice.
General: In my various political, representational and professional roles I have always demonstrated a commitment to the role, an understanding of those who work with me, and a willingness to devote the necessary time to the work. I am used to establishing and then working to deadlines. I am able to listen to arguments and reach a conclusion based on the circumstances and facts, am able to assimilate information, and am prepared to defend a position, when appropriate, but also to recognise that there are times when a change of position is required
I have a clear understanding of regulatory and statutory arrangements and an eye for detail which will spot possible difficulties or openings for General Practitioners.
Reporting and Consultation: I have demonstrated skills in chairing meetings, consulting colleagues and others, the ability to consult and report to the BMA and the wider profession.
Organisation and negotiation: Whilst I have not been a member of the negotiating team, I do have experience of national and local negotiations, but recognise that these skills require further development. The approach to the chairmanship I propose to adopt is designed to recognise this.
In the roles outlined above and as an LMC Secretary I have developed the ability to organise representation, to delegate roles and responsibilities to others and to monitor and appraise their performance. I understand the need to co-ordinate and work with national GPCs to achieve appropriate outcomes. My experience as a director of the GPDF gives me insight into the financial controls required in leading the GPC.
Communications: I am able to work with BMA Public Affairs and Parliamentary staff to promote the work of the GPC and GPs and to further a communications strategy for and to our branch of practice.
Representation: I have experience of representing doctors with a wide range of negotiating parties. That experience quips me to represent GPs and the GPC both in the negotiating arena and more widely.
Within the BMA I have experience of both political & representational and organisational committees, including membership of BRPAD. This has given me an understanding of the benefits and difficulties of working in an organisation which is variously a trade union, representational, and professional membership based organisation. I am therefore able to participate in the activities of the BMA as the Chairman of the GPC.
I have the skills to work with the secretariat to ensure there is proper representation of the negotiating team on subcommittees and that there is co-ordination with the chairman of national GPCs.
Election of General Practitioners Committee Chairman 2007-2010. Paragraph 8.4 Reasons for standing for office. Peter Holden
General Practitioners, their welfare and that of their practices have been my passion for almost 30 years- the details too numerous to mention here are on the BMA website. Apart from the honour represented by election to the Chairmanship of the GPC, it is the opportunity truly to be the “servant of the profession” which motivates me.
Matters of immediate importance to all GPs include:
- no pay, no work
- a pay and expenses rise for 2008 for current work
- maintenance of the current definition of normal hours without coercion, overt or covert, to extend or alter them
- real contractual fairness for all GPs irrespective of their contractual status always based on a level playing field
- a liberal self governing profession judged on a criminal standard of proof
- a robust defence and rebuttal of the anti GP spin from government
- a willingness to work constructively with any party or organisation in the interests of GPs and their practices
GPC must retain and build upon the successes of the new contractual arrangements and develop the communications strategy initiated by the last chairman. Without alienating patients we must be more forthright in our self defence, whilst continuing to tread the difficult line between today’s punchy headline and wrecking tomorrow’s negotiating opportunities. We must reserve the right to say the unsayable.
The opportunity must be seized to exploit the many talents of committee members and particularly the in-depth knowledge of subcommittee chairmen in support of the negotiating team. It is all too easy for the team to appear to be detached from the wider committee. The creation of a subcommittee chairmen’s listserver will allow a broader and more regular assessment of negotiating stances without removing the ultimate responsibility of the team to the GPC as a whole. Regular negotiating team/subcommittee chairmen meetings need reinstating. In addition operational changes to the conduct of GPC meetings require urgent implementation. Large swathes of uncontentious business can be processed en bloc following an email circulation and prior “off line” consideration. This will create time for proper debate enabling the negotiating team to be informed of issues of the day and also to permit the team to brief the committee fully on a regular basis. In summary we need to be more inclusive.
If elected, it would be my intention, following discussions with the directors of the GPDF, to revert to two Joint Deputy Chairmen as this spreads the load.
At the age of 51 with a further 14 years as a General Practitioner I have the drive, the energy, the commitment, the experience, the track record, and the incentive to deliver as your chairman.
May I have your highest preference vote please? Thank you.
eter Holden No. 1
Election of General Practitioners Committee Chairman 2007-2010.
Paragraph 8.3 self assessment against roles and responsibilities Peter Holden
Twenty three years experience on GPC, coupled with 8 years membership of the nGMS contract negotiating team, 10 years as chairman of Hospitals and Special Services subcommittee, 2 years as chairman of the GP registrars subcommittee, service on most of the task orientated subcommittees and numerous working groups and 27 years on my LMC have given me an unrivalled insight and detailed experience of the challenges of leading and representing General Practitioners through an era of massive change, whilst personally remaining an ordinary working General Practitioner with 2 years as a sessional doctor and 21 years as a principal.
The role of chairman demands many skills, namely leadership of the negotiating team, the committee as a whole and also partnerships with the GPC secretariat, the Public Affairs Division and within the BMA as a whole.
Nine years as Chairman of the Professional Fees Committee (PFC) – a committee acknowledged to have a negotiating workload on a par with the major branches of practice committees – has allowed me to develop sound skills in the areas of strategy formation, detailed negotiation planning and execution, and implementation of the negotiated outcome. Complex legal, political and financial issues in both four country specific and UK dimensions required close liaison with the BMA and the administrations of the devolved nations. Whilst chairman of PFC, ministerial meetings and three appearances before the Commons Select Committees exposed me to medico-political representation at the highest level. Further experience was gained representing and negotiating with numerous agencies and major UK commercial organisations in approximately 50 sets of negotiations annually. Crucial to that success (fees increased 40% ahead of inflation during my tenure) was successful delegation to, consultation with and utilisation of the skills of the committee as a whole. Integrated working with the secretariat and close cooperation with PADIV on delicate communications issues allowed implementation of our successes without upsetting patients. Such skills permitted the committee to guide the entire profession allowing it to absorb the impact of inter alia, Competition Law, Devolution and VAT. Strategic planning allowed evolution from a reactive, process led committee to one of forward thinking business support for all doctors.
The experience outlined above demonstrates that not only do I possess the attributes required for the roles and responsibilities of the Chairman of GPC but have demonstrably and successfully delivered medico-political success in similar roles to date, as the principal rather than as a deputy.
May I have your highest preference vote please? Thank you
Peter Holden No. 1
Candidacy for Chairman of GPC Eric Rose
Statement submitted under Standing Order 8.4
Some might see my standing from the backbenches to be chairman of the GPC as an act of bravado but I am standing because I am afraid. Afraid that the profession of which I have been proud to be a member for 35 years is about to be destroyed by government policy and by PCO’s interpretation of it.
The prediction of the end of general practice as we know it has in the past been derided but the danger signs are now clear with the relentless drive against small practices, the grandiose plans of many PCO’s to set up huge “polyclinics”, the attempts to renege on parts of the GMS contract, local pressures on PMS practices, and the obvious favouring of a move to APMS contracts held by companies. Whilst the worst excesses are currently in England we can be sure that if unchecked then the other 3 nations of the UK will in due course follow suit.
Although negotiations over the wording of a DES or even obtaining a funding increase are important there is a risk of us losing the bigger picture. Now is the time to for a bold stand and for the GPC to oppose the main thrust of government policy for primary care not in a blind Luddite way or by megaphone diplomacy but by the use of reasoning and facts and by fostering public opinion. The new English Secretary of State appears at least to be prepared to pause for thought and I would like to think that the no confidence motion which I proposed at Conference played a small part in convincing him of the need for this. That motion was supported by a lot of research and hard facts -more than could be packed into a 3 minute speech.
The next three years are crucial. We must convince the government that it is longitudinal list- based personal care and the dedication of independent general practitioners that has the enabled the NHS to operate at a much lower cost than any comparable system whilst also achieving evidence based care, measured high quality and above all high levels of public satisfaction. We must also use every means available to alert the public to the threat to their cherished family doctor system.
I have not previously stood to be a member of the negotiating team because I have always believed in 100% dedication to the task in hand and for the last 10 years that for me has been building up a new high quality practice. I now wish to offer that total dedication to the GPC coupled with a widely recognised passion for our profession. I have also been described, by an “opponent”, as a formidable negotiator. Although my epithet is Dr Angry those who have seen me in close action will know that my normal style is one of calm but firm persuasion supported by mastery of facts. I do not believe that repeated public threats of future action which then doesn’t happen help our cause. Such threats may have their place at times but only if they can be backed up by delivery.
Whilst holding strong views of my own, I am also a team player capable of hearing and responding to the reasoned views of others. As Chairman of the LMC Conference I was responsible for a number of innovations designed to widen participation. As Chairman of the GPC I would wish to maximise the involvement not only of the rest of the negotiating team but also of the wider membership whose knowledge and skills are often wasted- leading to frustration and, dare I say, anger. Communication has to be two-way and we must be able to take on board minority concerns and views as well as acting on the wishes of the majority.
Vote for me and I will devote all of my passion, skills, and experience to working for you and with you to ensure that UK general practice has a bright future.
Candidacy for GPC Chairman
Self Assessment against Role profile ( Standing Order 8.3) Eric Rose
I believe that I am a suitable candidate to be the political leader and the public face of UK General Practitioners. I have long political experience in a variety of settings, my passionate belief in the values of UK general practice is widely acknowledged.I have strong support from “grassroots” GPs which, when I stood, put me near the top of the poll in BMA Council Elections. I am media trained and experienced.
3.0.1 I have widespread experience as a Chairman including having chaired the LMC conference, my own LMC, a newly formed branch of a political party,a committee of a Local District council and latterly a sub-committee of the GPC.
3.0.2I am an experienced and skilled communicator able to marshall facts and figures and to receive information and views as well as put the necessary information across to others and have done so in all of the above roles.
4.0 Duties and Responsibilities. Like the immediate past chairman I would consider it essential to maintain some involvement in Clinical General Practice on perhaps one day per week but I have the time ability and energy (and the full support of my partners) to apply myself fully to the duties of GPC Chairman
4.1.1 to 4.1.4 In many of my previous roles but particularly in my most recent task of setting up and developing a practice from scratch I have experience in team building and delegation but also in the need at times to “lead from the front”. I am well aware of the fact that thorough preparation and knowledge are the key to successful negotiation and that the non elected “professional” members of the negotiating team are just as vital as the GP members.
4.1.5 I fully understand the need for a strategic plan and indeed have been a strong advocate of more involvement of the GPC membership in developing such a plan and monitoring performance against it
4.1.7 and 4.2. I have widespread experience as a communicator and in developing communications strategies for various organisations including my local PCT . Very early in my membership of the GMSC I wrote a paper on communications some elements of which are still in use.
4.1.6 and 4.1.8 These are again essentially about communication, liaison and sharing of information and ideas.
I have been described by others as possessing gravitas which I think is an essential quality for the role coupled with a passionate belief in my profession and the ability to marshall facts and communicate whether in a one to one to one setting or addressing a large conference. I feel therefore that I could be a worthy and able representative for the GPC and General Practice
Chair of GPC Role Profile
Graduated in Manchester 1988, MBChB (Hons)
Member of the RCGP 1994
Partner in Leeds GMS training practice 1994-
Clinical Governance Lead for Leeds NE PCG 1999-2002
Chair of Leeds Clinical Governance Leads Group 1999- 2002
Leeds LMC Secretary 1999-
Representative at Annual Conference of LMCs 1996-, Elected to Annual Conference of LMCs Agenda Committee 1999- 2003
General Practitioners Committee 2001-
Elected negotiator 2004- , Joint GPC/RCGP IT subcommittee 2001-, GP Registrars subcommittee 2004-, Sessional GPs subcommittee 2004-, Education, Training and Workforce Subcommittee 2004-, Technical Steering Committee 2004-, Primary Care Development subcommittee 2001-4, GPC contract negations review group 2003-4, Ministerial Taskforce for the Summary Care Record 2006, Summary Care Record Advisory Group 2007-, Deputy Chair BMA IT Working Group 2005-, RCGP Council 2005-, BMA Public-Private Interface Working Group 2006- Primary Care Pandemic Influenza Group 2007-, NHS Executive Prescribing Indicator National Group 2000-5, Department of Health (and later Connecting for Health) Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions Advisory Group 2002-3, 2005-
I have extensive experience both locally and nationally. I have taken leadership roles in a variety of organisations and often been elected or nominated to chair meetings. I am inclusive and encourage all members of groups to participate. I have represented GPs both locally and nationally by seeking out their views and then articulating these views to others. I then ensure that the outcomes of these meetings are fed back to those whom I represent. I believe two-way communication is essential and do this regularly through my role as LMC Secretary. I also have extensive media experience and am regularly called on to speak on behalf of the GPC or BMA.
I am a good team worker and both able to delegate to and support those with whom I work. I play to peoples strengths. I am a strategic thinker but also pragmatic and can identify the best deal possible. I have experience of negotiations at local and national level. I am naturally a principled negotiator and try to develop good professional working relationships with those I am negotiating with. However I am clear what outcomes would be acceptable to those I represent and have clear lines which I will not cross. I understand the complexity of negotiations including the impact and variation of deals across 4 nations.
As an LMC secretary I understand the importance of the voluntary levy and the accountability that this brings. Whilst not a GPDF director myself, I have already developed good working relations with the Treasurer and board members and understand the governance issues relating to GPDF and GPC. I am a GP appraiser and am confident in appraising colleagues and setting personal development plans.
I have had direct meetings with departmental officials and ministers in the past. I understand the importance of developing good relationships with politicians and their advisors, as well as journalists and public opinion formers. I already have good relationships with officers of the RCGP. I am a confident public speaker and have spoken at numerous conferences and meetings.
GPC Chair Election Statement
The Chair of GPC is said to be the best job in medico-politics. It is also one of the most difficult. The Chair must be able to give clear and strong leadership. The Chair must work with others to develop a clear vision for the profession and strategy for negotiations. They must be able to take difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions. They must have clarity of thought, be well organised, have sound judgement, be able to keep a cool head in a crisis, and give confidence to other team members. Naturally, the Chair must be able to Chair a GPC meeting. Above all they must have the confidence of all GPs, whatever their employment or contractual status, be willing to listen to their views, and then articulate these views with clarity to both Government and the wider public.
I believe I have the necessary skills, aptitude, energy and characteristics to be your Chairman. I have been a negotiator for 3 years, a member of GPC for 6 years and an LMC secretary for 8 years. I have led negotiations that have resulted in positive outcomes for practices. I have extensive media experience and have been committed to communicating with local LMCs and practices.
The coming years will bring huge challenges for all of us. Despite the change in Prime Minister, Chancellor and Health Teams in all 4 nations, I expect the attempts to undermine the new GMS contract will continue. I have no doubt that we will hear much more about GPs who work less but are being paid too much. Our response must be to highlight high quality patient care and convince the general public that this is good value for money. Our patients are our strongest advocates and we must redouble our efforts to get our messages across to them.
I am a principal in a large GMS practice and we depend on our MPIG. I am under no illusions about the attempts that will be made to claw back MPIG or to remove growth funding from PMS practices. You should know of my determination to prevent not just this but also to resist the unacceptable attack on our pensions. As a training practice I know at first hand how badly trainers have been treated in recent years, but also about how much we should support aspiring GPs in Foundation Training and GP registrars. As a practice made up of predominately part time GPs, I understand the importance of the changing demographics of our profession and that we must respond to this in our practices, negotiations and in the balance of our committees. As a paper-lite practice I am fully aware of the increasingly important role IT and the internet will play in every day patient care, but also of the huge risks of undermining patient confidence in the confidential nature of the consultation.
It is very easy to bang a populist drum when faced with some of the biggest challenges to our profession and professionalism. It is very easy to attack all private providers and to fight a protectionist cause. However I believe the GPC must respond to the new reality of competition by supporting existing practices and empowering them to be able to respond robustly to the new challenges. We must move away from historic antipathy towards the RCGP and instead work closely with them to develop a system of recertification and revalidation that is fit for purpose. We must also find ways of promoting good working relations between PCOs and LMCs, recognising the increasing importance that local negotiations will play, not least in the development of practice based commissioning. Finally we must not be afraid to challenge our own colleagues. The future of our profession is largely in our own hands. We must challenge exploitation of employed doctors by employers. We must encourage strong partnerships and highlight the dangers of doing to ourselves what we accuse others of doing to us.
As Chairman of GPC I could not even attempt to do all this on my own. I would depend not just on a strong and active negotiating team but also on the wider GPC and LMC officers. I believe we do not use the skills and talents of GPC and LMC members, nor delegate responsibilities anywhere near enough. Our sub-committees could work better and smarter and task groups could be used when needed.
I will need your support not just at this election, but throughout the whole of my term of office.