Colleagues pay tribute to BMA General Practitioners Committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, as he announces his intention to step down

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA.

Published: Monday 1 November 2021

Dr Richard Vautrey will step down as UK and England chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee when the committee meets for the first meeting of its new session in November. He has been chair of the GPC for four years and part of the GPC negotiating/executive team since 2004. He is a GP in Leeds.

During Richard’s tenure he has overseen significant investment into general practice after a time of austerity, and specifically negotiated £2.8bn of funding in 2019 as part of the new five-year GP contract deal in England. His time as chair saw the turning around of the decline in GP pay with recent higher rises; removal of the burden of indemnity for GPs for NHS work; improvement of the quality of care for patients with long-term conditions; the recruitment of a growing multidisciplinary team to work with and support GPs, including pharmacists in practices; increased funding to help young partners; and over the last 18 months he has led the profession through Covid-19, negotiating the highly successful vaccine delivery programme which has seen general practice play a critical role in the delivery of vaccines right across the country.

Dr Richard Vautrey said: “I’ve decided that the forthcoming first meeting of our delayed annual session is the right time for a new chair to take on this role. With the need to begin planning for a new contract as we approach the fourth year of our current five-year agreement, a new chair and team need to be given the opportunity to do this.

“Being chair of the BMA’s GP committee has been the greatest privilege and honour. To be able to work on behalf of this great profession for so long has given me the opportunity to work with many extremely gifted and dedicated people and I want to thank them all for their help, support, and encouragement. Together we have achieved a lot including significantly increasing the investment for general practice after a time of austerity, turning around the decline in GP pay, removing the burden of indemnity, improving the quality of care for patients with long-term conditions, enabling the recruitment of a growing multidisciplinary team to work with and support GPs - including pharmacists in practices - funding to help young partners and most recently supporting GPs and practices through and COVID-19 pandemic and enabling GPs to play a leading role in the hugely successful delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. I’m proud of all we have accomplished.

“There is so much more to do, at such a critical time for the profession, and I wish my successor all the best in delivering that.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of Council, said: “Richard has been a tireless champion for general practice for more than two decades. I have previously worked closely with Richard as part of the GPC executive team for ten years, the last four of which Richard was my loyal deputy when I was elected chair of GPC. I know Richard to be one of the hardest working members of the BMA, extremely diligent and dedicated, and who gave all of himself to the association and to the profession.

“As chair of GPC he has real achievements to his name, from the £2.8bn of extra funding into general practice he secured as part of the new five-year contract in 2019 and the landmark removal of the burden of indemnity costs for GPs and their staff for their NHS work. His leadership throughout the pandemic has made a difference to doctors and patients alike, not least through the critical role he played in enabling GPs to lead and deliver the COVID-19 vaccine programme that has contributed to the highly successful roll-out of vaccinations and the most successful vaccination programme in NHS history. Amidst the pressures of the pandemic Richard has shown determination to do his very best for general practice in the most pressing and testing circumstances.

“I want to thank Richard for his unwavering and loyal service to the profession and the BMA, and wish him the very best for the future.”

Dr Alan Stout, GPC Northern Ireland chair, said: “Richard has been an outstanding chair, colleague and friend to all GPs in Northern Ireland. This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved in healthcare and we need a strong, measured, and steadying influence now more than we ever have. There is no question that Richard has provided this during his time as chair of GPC England and GPC UK.”

Dr Phil White, GPC Wales chair, said: “He has been a great support to GPC Wales over the years, and very supportive of me personally when I took over the role of chair.
“A true gentleman taking on tasks that were very difficult, if not impossible, to complete given the stance taken by government.”

Dr Andrew Buist, GPC Scotland chair, said: “Richard has put his heart and soul into working for GPs; at this difficult time we really need professional unity to take on those who would put us down.”

Dr Richard Vautrey will continue in his role as normal until a new chair of GPC is elected at the November meeting.

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.