18. Dr Una Coales
It has been a tumultuous few months for Dr Una Coales, resigning from RCGP Council and BMA Council in protest.
She may cut a controversial figure, but colleagues placed her in the top 20 because of the influence she carries among many GPs. Colleagues said she deserved recognition for ‘fighting so long and hard for justice for international medical graduates’.
A long-standing member of RCGP Council, she resigned this year over the college’s handling of the row over the differences in MRCGP pass rates for white and non-white candidates in May.
She also issued a clarion call for GPs to take industrial action to address rising workload in general practice earlier this year, and attempted to insert an emergency motion into the agenda at the Annual Representative Meeting in Harrogate. This move was rejected and she resigned a few weeks later due to what she called ‘bullying and intimidation’ over the move.
She says she was ‘forced out for being a thorn’ in two ‘Old Boys’ clubs, and says her failure to get an emergency motion at the BMA on industrial action was the low point of the year.
But she says that GPs should not be disillusioned by the ‘relentless’ media bashing: ‘I would have to borrow GP partner Dr Sara Thompson’s lines that “General practice is a job; it does not define who we are.”