Tributes to Leeds-based GP who led profession through Covid-19 as he leaves BMA role

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Leeds GP Dr Richard Vautrey is set to step down from his role as chairman of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee.

Colleagues have paid tribute to Dr Vautrey, who will step down as the UK and England chair when the committee meets later this month.

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Dr Vautrey, who is a GP at Meanwood Health Centre, has been chair of the committee for four years and part of its negotiating and executive team since 2004.

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Dr Richard VautreyDr Richard Vautrey
Dr Richard Vautrey

He 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.

It also saw improvement of the quality of care for patients with long-term conditions and the recruitment of a team to work with and support GPs, including pharmacists in practices.

Over the past 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 across the country.

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Dr 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.

“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.

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"Together we have achieved a lot including significantly increasing the investment for general practice after a time of austerity."

Dr Vautrey added: “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 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.

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“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.”

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

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