Candidate steps down after rules breach in BMA GP committee election

A BMA GP committee election process suspended for more than three months is set to resume 'in due course' after a candidate accused of breaching canvassing rules stepped down.

BMA House (Photo: Malcolm Case-Green)

Voting to choose a BMA GP committee representative for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire was suspended on 5 March after a claims that a candidate had broken canvassing rules.

An investigation launched by the BMA's independent scrutineer for elections has now confirmed that a breach of an election process occurred, but that no individual should be referred to a BMA resolution panel.

GPonline reported in March that voting in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire election had been suspended while claims that a candidate had sent out an unsolicited message canvassing support were investigated.

GP committee elections

The independent investigation found that an email had been sent in error to GP practice administrators by an LMC without the agreement of the LMC officer - and against its own policy.

BMA guidelines state that candidates 'must not use BMA resources to canvass voters and should not send them unsolicited communications'.

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘An investigation into a complaint relating to the election of a Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire representative for the GP committee has now concluded.

‘The investigation found an email had been sent in error to GP practice administrators by an LMC without the agreement of the LMC officers and contrary to their own decision not to send emails supporting candidates in the BMA GP committee election.

Independent investigation

‘Although the independent investigation determined that no individual should be referred to a BMA resolution panel, given the impact on the election the BMA also consulted its independent scrutineer for elections which advised that a breach of an election process had taken place.

‘The candidate which the original complaint related to has since voluntarily withdrawn themselves from this election. The election will be rerun with the remaining two candidates in due course.’

A different candidate in the same region withdrew from the election in March over concerns that rural GPs had been unable to access the voting system.

The election in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire began alongside elections for nine other regional posts on the BMA GP committee - voting for which was wrapped up in mid-March. GPs in regional positions will serve a three-year term.

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