Candidates revealed in 'two-horse race' to become new GPC chair

Campaigning has begun to replace Dr Chaand Nagpaul as leader of England's GPs.

Dr Richard Vautrey (l) and Dr Mark Sanford Wood (r) set to challenge for GPC role (Photos: JH Lancy; Wilde Fry)
Dr Richard Vautrey (l) and Dr Mark Sanford Wood (r) set to challenge for GPC role (Photos: JH Lancy; Wilde Fry)

GPonline understands that Dr Richard Vautrey and Dr Mark Sanford-Wood could be in the running for the position of GPC chair.

Deputy and acting chair Dr Vautrey confirmed to GPonline that he will stand, after nominations opened on Wednesday. Fellow GPC executive member Dr Sanford-Wood is also understood to be considering a run for the top position.

GPC members will elect the new chair at their next meeting on 20 July, and GPC election protocol is that candidates do not campaign publicly.

The seat became vacant last week after Dr Nagpaul took up his new position as BMA chair of council after four years as GP leader.

GP leaders

GPonline understands the contest is likely to be a two-horse race after other potential candidates ruled themselves out.

The campaign between Dr Vautrey - who has served as deputy under the past two GPC chairs - and Dr Sanford-Wood, who was only appointed to the executive in September 2016, will likely be seen by committee members as a choice between experience and change.

Dr Vautrey, who practises in Leeds where he is LMC assistant secretary, has been a GPC member since 2001. He served four years as Dr Nagpaul’s deputy after losing out in the final round of the 2013 chair election and was deputy to previous chair Dr Laurence Buckman and served as a negotiator in Dr Hamish Meldrum before that. Dr Vautrey also sits on the BMA and RCGP councils.

Dr Sanford-Wood, medical secretary at Devon LMC, was appointed to the GPC executive in last year’s shake-up after five years on the backbenches. The portfolio GP works part of his week as a prison doctor and speaks on prisoner health for the BMA. Dr Sanford-Wood has written and published a novel about the effects on soldiers of fighting on the eastern front in world war two in which he drew on his experience working with Jewish Holocaust survivors in an elderly psychiatric ward.

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