Revalidation-sceptic Dr Una Coales is battling marketisation-opponent Dr Helena McKeown and three college educators, Professor Nigel Mathers, Dr Steve Mowle and Dr Janet Hall, for the job. The vice-chairman will serve under Dr Clare Gerada when she takes over as RCGP chairman in November.
Until now, vice-chairmen have been appointed, rather than elected. Past incumbents such as Professor Steve Field and Dr Gerada have gone on to chair the council, while others have faded into obscurity.
The 2010 contenders, in alphabetical order, are:
- Dr Una Coales, a south London GP unashamed of making waves. Dr Coales won 1,163 votes when she stood for RCGP president last year on a get-the-politics-out-of-revalidation ticket, but was beaten into second place by Dr Iona Heath. Earlier this month LMC delegates overwhelmingly answered 'not me' when she asked: 'Who wants revalidation?'
- Dr Janet Hall, RCGP council member and a Sheffield GP. Dr Hall lost last year to Professor Amanda Howe in the election for college secretary.
- Professor Nigel Mathers, another Sheffield GP and professor of primary care at Sheffield University. Professor Mathers stood down as chairman of the college's Clinical Innovation and Research Centre in March. His PhD thesis was on heartsink patients.
- Dr Helena McKeown, like Dr Coales, is active both in the BMA and the RCGP. A college council member, GPC representative for Wiltshire and chairman of the BMA's community care committee, she recently drew attention to marketisation forces undermining the NHS.
- Dr Steve Mowle, a south London GP and medical educator working both at Guy's and St Thomas's NHS Foundation Trust and the London deanery. Chairman of the college's south London RCGP faculty, last year he and Dr Hall lost the contest to become RCGP secretary to Professor Howe. He won a seat on college council when Dr Heath became president.
The college's vice-chairman leads its work on patient liaison, membership and faculty issues.