Breaking: New GPC England chair elected

The BMA’s GP Committee for England has elected Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer as its new chair.

Dr Bramall-Stainer, who is Cambridgeshire LMC chief executive and currently LMC UK conference chair, will now take the lead on crucial negotiations for next year’s contract.

GPCE also voted in three deputy chairs today: Dr David Wrigley, Dr Julius Parker and Dr Samira Anane.

The vote followed a controversial vote of no confidence in its former chair, Dr Farah Jameel, and she stood against GPC acting chair Dr Kieran Sharrock.

Who is Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer?

Cambridgeshire LMC chief executive and LMC UK conference chair Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer has long been involved in BMA and wider GP politics.

Joining the GPC in 2007, a year before she fully qualified, she represented GP trainees and negotiated nationally for junior doctors during the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) debacle.

In 2016, she became medical director for six London LMCs, before joining Cambs LMC two years later as deputy chief executive, and reaching the top position in 2019. This was a big year for Dr Bramall-Stainer, as she was also elected to the position of deputy chair of the UK LMCs conference, before becoming chair in 2021.

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Dr Bramall-Stainer said: ‘I am very grateful to GPC England for its support and pay tribute to the outgoing team for their commitment and hard work. As GPC England begins a new chapter, our focus and greatest challenge is to safeguard the very survival of our profession. 

‘I will be writing to Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay in the coming weeks to ask to meet with them to discuss how we can better redistribute investment into the core GP contract, because any other proposal stands to leave our nation’s health and finances much worse off. 

‘I look forward to setting out our vision, strategy and plan this Autumn: to restore trust in the patient-doctor relationship; champion GPs’ unique role as independent health advocates for our patients and focus on continuity of care – all three improve and lengthen patients’ lives, and sustain our own professional wellbeing too.’

Dr Anane said: ‘I would like to give huge thanks to the officer team for their unwavering dedication and hard work over the past few years.

‘I am grateful to GPCE and committed to constructively working together as a committee and profession to addressing the challenges ahead.’

Dr Wrigley, who was re-elected as a deputy, said: ‘I am delighted to have been elected by my colleagues as deputy chair of GPC England. This is a critical time for general practice; the profession is on its knees with unmanageable and unsafe workloads and a woeful lack of investment in the service and our premises. Now is the time for politicians to understand the true scale of the problem and properly invest in NHS general practice so it can provide safe and high-quality patient care.’

And Dr Parker said: ‘I am delighted to have this opportunity to join the GPC England officer team and am grateful to GPCE members for their support.

‘The significant challenges facing NHS general practice were well-described by all candidates at this election. I look forward to contributing with colleagues to constructively addressing these, for the benefit of both the profession and patients.’

Meanwhile, Dr Sharrock, who has been acting chair since last year, said: ‘I would like to congratulate Dr Bramall-Stainer on being elected to chair of GPC England. I look forward to returning to the back bench where I will support Katie and her team in their work to negotiate the contract desperately needed by the profession. I would like to thank the BMA team and the officers who have worked so hard whilst I was acting chair. It has been a privilege to undertake this role.’

Earlier this month, the GPC voted in favour of a motion proposing it was ‘deeply concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the status of the alleged suspension’ of Dr Jameel, and demanded new elections be held imminently.

Following the vote of no confidence, GPs and other healthcare professionals expressed concern about the vote’s fairness, with a petition calling for its withdrawal having received over 600 signatures.

One LMC confederation said it would be ‘natural’ for colleagues to be concerned that her removal was ‘discriminatory’.

However, the BMA said no legal obligations were breached in its handling of Dr Jameel’s removal.

Dr Jameel had been elected as the first female GPCE chair in late 2021, but was put on temporary suspension in November last year following complaints made by the organisation’s staff.

Formal hearings into the complaint have not yet taken place due to Dr Jameel’s ongoing maternity leave, which she began at around the same time as her suspension towards the end of last year.

In an investigation earlier in 2022, Pulse reported that Dr Jameel had taken time off ill with stress following sexist comments made to her.

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