Tributes to Leeds GP Richard Vautrey who is stepping down as chair of the BMA’s General Practice Committee

Colleagues have paid tribute to a “tireless champion for general practice” after Leeds doctor Richard Vautrey announced he was stepping down as chair of the BMA’s General Practice Committee (GPC).

Dr Richard Vautrey at Meanwood Health Centre, Leeds Picture: Simon Hulme

Dr Vautrey who has been chair of the GPC for four years and part of the GPC executive team since 2004, said it had been “the greatest privilege and honour”.

His time as chair saw the turning around of the decline in GP pay with recent higher rises, the recruitment of a growing multidisciplinary team to work with GPs - including pharmacists in practices - and enabling GPs to play a leading role in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

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Dr Vautrey said a new chair and team was needed to begin planning for the new five-year GP contract. He said he was proud of all that had been accomplished, adding: “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 the Leeds GP, who is based at Meanwood Group Practice, “gave all of himself to the association and to the profession”.

Dr Nagpaul said: “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.”

Meanwhile Dr Andrew Buist, GPC Scotland chair, said Dr Vautrey had “put his heart and soul into working for GPs”. A new chair of GPC will be elected at the November meeting.