Women bid for top GPC roles

Senior female GPs will fight for top GPC roles in elections this year in a bid to end its 'gentlemen's club' image, GP can reveal.

In the running (L to R): Drs Wilson, Jones, McCarron-Nash, Mckeown
In the running (L to R): Drs Wilson, Jones, McCarron-Nash, Mckeown

GPC Wales looks set to elect its first female chair next month and at least one senior female GP is considering a run to become UK chairwoman.

Female candidates have thrown their hats in the ring just weeks after LMCs voted for the GPC to investigate why women are underrepresented in its ranks.

The committee has had an all-male negotiating team since last July and fewer than one in four of its members are women.

Elections on 18 July will choose a new UK GPC chair and three negotiators. GPC Wales will elect a new chair on 26 July. Welsh GPC deputy chairwoman Dr Charlotte Jones is currently the only candidate to replace outgoing chairman Dr David Bailey.

Former GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash has ruled out a run to become UK GPC chairwoman, but will stand for a negotiator post.

GPC member Dr Fay Wilson refused to rule out a campaign to lead the committee. 'It is an interesting idea which merits some thought,' she told GP. GPC member Dr Helena McKeown said she also planned to bid for a negotiating post, but backed Dr Wilson as a 'fantastic' potential candidate. 'I would like to see a woman stand because we have some really talented women,' she said.

Dr McKeown added that her first priority would be Dr McCarron-Nash's re-election as a negotiator.

'I didn't vote for her last year and I regret it,' she admitted.

At last month's UK LMCs conference, GPs voted for the GPC to investigate its lack of female representation. Derbyshire LMC's Dr Kath Markus said the GPC seemed to be a 'gentlemen's club'.

The candidates face tough competition. GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey and negotiators Dr Chaand Nagpaul and Dr Dean Marshall all told GP they will run for the post of chair. Negotiator Dr Peter Holden declined to say whether he would run. Current Welsh GPC chairman Dr David Bailey plans to stand for a UK negotiating post.

Meanwhile, two female candidates - London GP Dr Una Coales and Glasgow GP Dr Margaret McCartney - were elected to the RCGP council in recent elections. Just six posts were available and only three of the 18 candidates were women.

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