GMC names second female chair in 164-year history

Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen has been named as the chair of the GMC - becoming only the second woman ever to hold the position in its 164-year history, the regulator has announced.

Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen
Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen (Photo: GMC)

The consultant ophthalmologist for NHS Tayside, Scotland, has served as acting chair of the GMC since August after Dame Clare Marx stepped down from the position in July due to health reasons.

Dame Carrie takes permanent charge of the role after being chosen as the Privy Council’s preferred candidate, and has pledged to build on a legacy of ‘compassionate support for doctors’ established by her predecessor.

She said: ‘I am delighted and feel very privileged to have been appointed the next chair of the GMC. This is a particularly challenging time for healthcare and I look forward to working collaboratively with partners across all four countries of the United Kingdom to support doctors to provide the best possible care for patients.

Care standards

‘I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Dame Clare Marx, whose legacy of compassionate support for doctors will endure; fair, open and respectful working environments are essential for clinicians to be able to perform at their best and, therefore, provide the safest patient care.’

Dame Carrie is an honorary professor at the University of Dundee and served as chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, until 2020. She is also past-president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Responding to the announcement, GMC chief executive Charlie Massey, said: ‘I am delighted that Dame Carrie has been appointed as the next chair. She takes up the role at a critical time for the GMC, where an ambitious programme of work is underway.

‘I am confident that the wealth of experience she brings will be invaluable to seeing this work through successfully as we continue our work to protect patients by maintaining and improving standards in medical practice.

GMC investigation

‘In particular Carrie will play a vital role in driving forward our new strategy, which shifts the emphasis of our work from acting when things have gone wrong to continued support for all doctors in the delivery of the highest standards of care.’

In May last year the GMC set itself a five-year target for eliminating disproportionate complaints from employers about doctors from minority ethnic groups and is also aiming to halt bias in medical education.

At the 2022 GMC annual conference last week Mr Massey encouraged the government not to neglect the importance of retaining doctors already in the workforce amid impressive speciality training recruitment numbers in recent years.

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