Interview: Female GPs reveal why they want to lead GPC

Exclusive: Two female GPs standing on a joint ticket to become co-chairwomen of the UK GPC said they want to 'empower' the committee and take it off the 'back foot' in negotiations.

Dr Wilson and Dr Drage said it felt like 'high time' to put themselves forward for the role of GPC chair
Dr Wilson and Dr Drage said it felt like 'high time' to put themselves forward for the role of GPC chair

Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage and Birmingham GP Dr Fay Wilson, chief executive at out-of-hours provider Badger, confirmed they are standing for the role on a job-share basis, after GP exclusively revealed their plans.

The pair, who worked together at Londonwide LMCs, where Dr Wilson was medical secretary for four years until 2009, said they are standing on a ‘change’ agenda and ‘don’t represent the status quo’.

They claim the GPC will get ‘two for the price of one’ if they vote for them on 18 July to replace current chairman Dr Laurence Buckman.

Dr Drage, a former GPC negotiator, said: ‘It is about bringing the opportunity for change. This is about GPs, LMCs and the future of general practice. Between us we embody so much experience on those fronts, that we have the ability to offer a huge amount.

‘It feels like high time to put ourselves forward.’

The under-representation of women on the GPC was not the reason for them standing, they claimed.

‘It is a side effect,’ said Dr Wilson. ‘The main issue is the issue about general practice and change. We know that people will be interested because we look different. We want a different approach.

‘This is not about one fairy at the top of a Christmas tree. There is an immense job to do. There is an opportunity to get two for the price of one.’

Their different approach would be more open, constructive and persuasive, they said.

‘Negotiations, if we look back, have been about resistance, fighting, saying "we don’t like this",’ Dr Wilson said. ‘They have been very reactive and on the back foot. We would have a much more persuasive style, "how can we help you to help us?"

‘What we are offering is a change, to be more constructive, to succeed. Always being under attack has been very exhaustive for the GPC and for the profession.’

Their leadership style would be about honesty and ‘facing up to the issues’ and communicating their message well, said Dr Drage.

‘So much depends on good communication, using different types of media to get our views across to everyone who has a stake in general practice,' Dr Drage said. 'What we want to do is to get much more empowerment for GPs in what they do.

‘We want to make GPs proud again, of what they do on a daily basis.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey and negotiators Dr Chaand Nagpaul and Dr Dean Marshall have all told GP they will run for the post of chair.

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