Women head the race to lead RCGP

RCGP Election - RCGP to choose first female chairman for 50 years after hustings this week.

Dr Maureen Baker (l) and dr Clare Gerada
Dr Maureen Baker (l) and dr Clare Gerada

A hustings event this week will allow the two contenders to replace RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field to make their case for election.

Both are women, meaning the ballot of RCGP members next month looks certain to lead to the election of the first female chairman for almost 50 years.

The candidates, RCGP vice-chairman Dr Clare Gerada, a GP in south London, and Dr Maureen Baker, former RCGP honorary secretary and current pandemic lead, will each give a five-minute presentation at this week's RCGP council meeting.

They will be called in alphabetical order and will each be heard separately in camera, so as not to give advantage to their fellow contestant.

A ballot of council members will be held from 5 to 26 March. The successful candidate will be announced at the 14 April meeting and will shadow Professor Field until 20 November.

GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash said: 'It's nice to see women doing well in general practice.

'It's unusual to have two female candidates for such a high profile position. But it's a sign that woman are putting themselves forward for influential roles.'

She added: 'Both candidates have shown leadership and both have very good qualities.'

Professor Field, a GP at the Bellevue Medical Centre in inner-city Birmingham, has been chairman since 2007, and has been responsible for steering the college through the development of revalidation.

He has also sought to promote the federated model of general practice as an alternative to the polyclinic vision set out by Lord Darzi.

Dr Annis Gillie was the first female chair of the RCGP in 1959. She served in that role until 1962.

The Contenders

  • Honorary secretary for the RCGP for nine years.
  • Pandemic lead for the RCGP and played a major role in swine flu planning.
  • Former chairman of the RCGP Leadership Programme.
  • Founded the RCGP substance misuse unit and set up the Practitioner Health Programme (PHP).
  • Led the RCGP's sex, drugs and HIV taskforce.
  • Wrote a discussion paper that warned against the rise in the number of sessional GPs, in 2009.

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