Two candidates in running to chair BMA GP committee

Dr Farah Jameel and Dr Chandra Kanneganti have put themselves forward as candidates to become the next chair of the BMA's GP committee.

GPC candidates
GPC candidates Dr Farah Jameel and Dr Chandra Kanneganti

A new chair will be elected at a BMA GP committee meeting on 18 November to replace Dr Richard Vautrey, who announced his decision to step down at the start of this month.

Nominations have now closed and no further candidates are able to enter the election, which will be decided by votes from committee members.

Dr Jameel is a sessional GP in Camden, north London, and a current member of the GP committee's executive team. She has been a member of the BMA GP committee since 2014 and is also chair of Camden LMC.

GP committee

If elected, she would become the first woman to chair the BMA's GP committee - an achievement that would be a landmark moment just two years after women within the committee spoke out through GPonline about a sexist culture within it, triggering the Romney review.

Dr Kanneganti is a senior partner in Stoke-on-Trent, and holds an array of roles both in and outside of medical work.

He is a Conservative councillor in Goldenhill and Sandyford, in Stoke-on-Trent, as well as medical secretary of North Staffordshire LMC and president of the British International Doctors Association (BIDA). Dr Kanneganti was also elected Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent earlier this year.

The winning candidate will inherit an extremely challenging situation - with an indicative ballot of general practice over potential forms of industrial action set to close just days before the winning candidate is confirmed.

Face-to-face access

The current ballot comes after intense criticism of the profession over face-to-face access, and was triggered by a GP access plan and 'support package' unveiled last month that has been condemned by GPs for adding more pressure rather than offering support.

Remarkably, when outgoing chair Dr Vautrey took on the role in 2017, a ballot on potential industrial action was also underway - a bookend to his time in office that offers a clear marker of the long-standing crisis facing general practice.

Despite a five-year contract package for general practice in 2019 that brought much-needed funding after years of decline, the GP workforce continues to be eroded. GPonline reported earlier this week that the average GP is now caring for 300 more patients than in 2015.

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