GPC candidate could retain Conservative councillor role if elected

A candidate to become the next BMA GP committee chair may continue to work as a local councillor for the Conservative party if he is elected, GPonline understands.

Dr Chandra Kanneganti: GP committee chair candidate

Dr Chandra Kanneganti, one of two candidates standing for election as the next chair of the BMA's GP committee, currently serves as a Conservative councillor in Goldenhill and Sandyford, in Stoke-on-Trent.

The West Midlands GP was also elected Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent earlier this year in his capacity as a local councillor.

Dr Kanneganti and Dr Farah Jameel will take part in a hustings at a BMA GP committee meeting on 18 November and committee members will vote on the day to decide which of the two will replace outgoing chair Dr Richard Vautrey.

GP committee election

BMA conflict of interest rules suggest that a chair can continue to hold other roles as long as they are openly declared. However, some current and former members of the BMA GP committee have raised concerns about whether leading the committee is compatible with serving as a representative of a political party.

GPonline requested a list of conflicts of interest declared by both candidates, but the BMA has said it does not publish declarations or candidate statements ahead of committee elections.

A spokesperson said: 'With the election process underway, it would be inappropriate to comment on matters related to individual candidates.

'Candidates for BMA senior elected positions are required to declare any potential interests at the nomination stage of the process and to also propose mitigations, should they be elected. This information is made available to voting members ahead of voting.'

Conflict of interest

Retired Manchester GP Dr John Hughes, chair of GP Survival and a former BMA GP committee member, said he felt active representation of a political party was an ‘unacceptable conflict of interest’.

But Dr Hughes told GPonline: ‘It wouldn't be against BMA rules. I think official guidance on being elected chair of any committee states that you should have time to do the job and be able to give attention.

‘The BMA’s stand is that people will have conflicts of interest, but that they need to be sort of openly declared and everybody needs to be aware of them when forming an opinion as to whether somebody is the best person for chair or even for committee seats. At the end of the day, it is up to the GPC members who are voting to decide whether they feel there is an issue.’

Some existing GPC members suggested privately to GPonline that they were also concerned about the potential dual role.

Elected BMA officials are required to sign up to its conflict of interest policy, which defines a conflict of interest as a ‘set of circumstances that creates a risk that an individual’s ability to apply objective judgment or act in one role is, or could be, impaired or influenced by a secondary interest’.

The BMA policy document says: 'The intention is not to forbid participation in other activities outside of the normal responsibilities of a member, indeed these additional activities can be a source of strength to the BMA.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP appointment

General practice delivered 342m appointments in 2022 - and lost nearly 500 GPs

General practice in England delivered around 342m appointments in total in 2022 with...

NHS sign

Local GPs unite to take over two practices run by hospital trust

GPs in Swindon have come together to take over two practices that had spent more...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Why are junior doctors preparing to strike?

Talking General Practice speaks to BMA GP trainee committee chair Dr David Smith...


Practices face losing out on QOF income amid soaring demand

GP practices risk losing out on QOF income this year because sky-high demand for...

Nurse giving older man a COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI recommends targeted COVID-19 vaccination programme in 2023

People at higher risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered a booster vaccination...

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay leaving number 10 Downing Street

Government sets out plans for 'major conditions' health strategy

The government is to set out a strategy to tackle six 'major' health conditions in...