GPC's Dr Peter Holden: 'no regrets' after losing negotiator election

One of the longest-serving GPC negotiators ever has said he has no regrets from his time on the executive committee after being voted off on Thursday.

Dr Peter Holden: leaving GPC negotiating team after 15 years (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Peter Holden: leaving GPC negotiating team after 15 years (Photo: JH Lancy)

Dr Peter Holden, one of only five GPs to have served 15 years on the negotiating team, told GPonline the committee wanted change and ‘as the longest serving, as the oldest, I was most likely to get thumped’.

Essex LMCs chief executive Dr Brian Balmer was elected in Dr Holden’s place at a closed election of GPC members on 17 July.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey and the executive’s only woman member, Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, both held their seats.

North Staffordshire GP Dr Chandra Kanneganti also failed to win a seat in the election held under the single transferable vote system.

Standing ovation

Dr Holden, who received a standing ovation from GPC members when the result was announced, said the vote was very close.

The Derbyshire GP has been a GPC member for 30 years. A member of the negotiating team behind the 2004 new GMS contract deal, he has recently led negotiations on premises, urgent and out-of-hours services, practice finance and dispensing.

A medical aircrew member with Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance service and immediate care physician, he received plaudits after being first on the scene after the 7/7 bus bomb exploded outside BMA House in Tavistock Square, London. Dr Holden ran a field hospital in the grounds of the doctors’ union headquarters to treat the victims.

He revealed to GP that he had announced in his election address and hustings speech that if re-elected he would not run again. ‘I said this was the last time I was standing for a hustings negotiator seat.'

A hell of a priviledge

‘To have been on the team at all is a privilege. To have had 15 years a hell of a privilege. It's 15 years of confidence in me. But there comes a time to go, and I had already declared this time was the last time I was standing. 

‘I realised that the minute I declared my hand and said I was standing for the last time, that can weaken you,' he added.

But Dr Holden said new opportunities would open up and he would now be more free to speak out.

‘I will much more willing to talk,' he said, ‘because I won't have the cabinet responsibility. But I'm not going to make it difficult for them.'

‘I've always been outspoken, and I was the one who said it how it is, but I knew my time was limited.’

Dr Vautrey wrote on Twitter: ‘Peter Holden has served the GPC with distinction and will continue to serve the BMA and the profession in many ways. GPs owe him a great debt.’

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul told GP: 'As the longest serving negotiator on the executive team I want to pay tribute to Peter for the significant contribution he has played in his 15 years as a negotiator, and I am sure that we will continue to draw on Peter’s knowledge and skills in the future.

'I look forward to welcoming Brian Balmer to the GPC executive team. As an LMC chief executive he is well placed to contribute positively on developing to the solutions needed to address the problems facing general practice.'

Read more: How GPC members reacted to 7/7 bus bomb

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