The Lancashire GP told GPonline he was ‘delighted’ and ‘honoured’ to have been elected to the role by the BMA council, the union's ruling body.
Dr Wrigley, who is also chairman of the Doctors in Unite/Medical Practitioners Union, was re-elected to the council in 2014 on a platform critical of both the government’s health reforms and the BMA’s failure to prevent them.
The GPC member takes over the role from retired Manchester GP Dr Kailash Chand.
Dr Wrigley, who has been active in the BMA for 15 years, said his priority in the role was to ‘help unite the profession’.
‘The NHS and the profession are under great strain with funding cuts’, he said. ‘It is very important that the BMA protects and defends the NHS.’
Dr Wrigley, whose Unite/MPU group has pushed for the GPC to consider industrial action by GPs, said he would continue to support junior doctors in however the JDC decide to take their contract dispute forward.
‘It is quite clear that the contract isn’t acceptable for the majority of juniors’, he said, ‘and Jeremy Hunt needs to hear that.’
BMA council should also continue to support the GPC at a critical time for general practice, added Dr Wrigley.
Speaking at LMCs annual conference in May Dr Wrigley said: ‘Our politicians are starving the NHS of funds and destroying it. Direct your anger to the politicians. BMA should be shouting from the rooftops about this.’
The new deputy chairman is supporter of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign group and has co-authored two books about the NHS, 'NHS for Sale' and 'NHS SOS', with BMA council colleage Dr Jacky Davis and others.