Meldrum calls for end to salaried GP dispute

GPs BMA chairman says there is 'no conflict' in representing both employees and partners.

Click on the video above to watch a clip of our interview with Dr Fieldhouse, chairman of the National Association of Sessional GPs, who talks about the split between salaried and locum GPs.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum has urged salaried and sessional GPs to avoid talk of splits in the profession and try to resolve their differences within the BMA.

Dr Meldrum, the former GPC chairman, said comments about a split were 'not helpful' and played into government hands.

He said that over the years there had been numerous discussions with sessional and salaried GPs about having their own committee but they had always chosen to stay within the GPC.

'From my point of view we have never pressured them one way or the other,' he said.

He admitted ongoing BMA discussions on the representation of sessional and salaried GPs were likely to be 'speeded up' as the Medical Practitioners' Union (MPU) sought to attract GPs disaffected with the BMA. He said it was part of his job to ensure salaried GPs were happy.

But Dr Richard Fieldhouse, National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP) chairman, said the BMA had always presented a 'brick wall' to the concerns of salaried GPs.

Dr Fieldhouse said it had been in the GPC's interest to keep salaried GPs' concerns quiet because the government could have used this information to its advantage in negotiations.

However, he agreed it might be possible to resolve concerns within the BMA if sessional and salaried GPs were given their own craft committee with real negotiating power.

'Independence from employers is crucial to real representation. That is why we approached the MPU. It has independence and the resources to help members.'

Dr Meldrum said he did not believe there was a conflict of interest in the BMA representing employers and employees.

'We have mechanisms in place, such as those we use for dealing with partnership disputes. This is not new for us.'

But Dr Fieldhouse said that, even if the BMA did everything right when dealing with disputes, salaried and sessional GPs would always feel there was a bias toward partners until they had separate representation.

 

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