Pulse are to run a story about NASGP having talks with another trade union (MPU-Unite) other than the BMA about representing salaried/sessional GPs.
It’s still early days, but after I accepted an invitation to fill the MPUs vacant seat on the General Practitioners Committee as an individual member of MPU, the BMA discussed NASGP’s private talks with the MPU in an open session. So word has escaped to Pulse who of course are eager to publish this news now.
So why the MPU?
There comes a point when one has heard too many salaried GPs sobbing down the phone. Bullied by their employers, as employees they have turned to their trade union only to find that that same union also represents their employer – hardly surprising when the BMA go round saying they’re the ‘only’ trade union for GPs.
It’s not that the BMA have maliciously set out to mislead GPs. The BMA is a huge organisation and clearly does fantastic work for our profession. It is the only doctors’ union with negotiating rights with the government (MPU gave away their rights to the BMA in the sixties – hence the position on the GPC) and offers a host of other products and services for the profession.
But our profession has changed massively and irrevocably over the last 20 years. Then, locum GPs were just a minor inconvenience and salaried GPs barely existed; BMA members were overwhelmingly either employed hospital doctors or GP Principals. Now only 60% of GPs are principals – the rest are us salaried GPs and locums. The BMA is the only trade union in the democratic world who say they can represent employers and employees, which is as ridiculous as saying that the secret to human flight is to fall to the ground and miss – it’s just not possible, no matter who good the intention. As unnatural as defying gravity.
A working party of 7 NASGP members has considered several options presented to it by the MPU. Our plan for now is to start by working with the MPU to increase our members awareness of the MPU as a trade union that can help out vulnerable salaried GPs when it comes to independent representation in a practice dispute, plus other benefits that such a large organisation can offer. And, in addition, we’re looking at ways that the MPU can work with the NASGP to further benefit Sessional GPs – but all early days and certainly no details on this to report yet as talks on this are only just beginning! What we can certainly say now is that membership of the MPU together with the BMA is in no way mutually exclusive.
Over the coming months we will be working hard with the MPU to increase awareness of how Sessional GPs can benefit from greater representation and will, as always, keep our members informed of progress here on the blog and our MPU section of the NASGP website.