26. Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard
Next RCGP chair?
This sparky treasurer of the RCGP has been tipped to be the next chair (you heard it here first), and she is already staking a claim with her tight grip on the college’s finances.
Dr Stokes-Lampard was successful in getting HM Revenue & Customs to agree that trainees can deduct the costs of their MRCGP exams from their tax bill – a big win that he says ‘will save hundreds of pounds to every trainee, and trainees who qualified in the past four years’, and was a result of a ‘long programme of work’.
‘It is not very glamorous but is profoundly important,’ she adds.
However, the Lichfield GP’s most high-profile intervention this year has been her staunch defence of the cost of the MRCGP exam.
She announced earlier this year a new pricing structure, which would see trainees paying less for their exams, but more for their memberships. But this caused a rift with the BMA, which called the plan ‘unjustifiable’.
And it led to further scrutiny of the cost of the RCGP’s exit exam, with Pulse revealing that the college made £10m ‘net income’ over the past five years.
Dr Stokes-Lampard came out fighting, claiming the hidden costs of the exam meant the RCGP had actually made a loss in that time. She added: ‘We naturally want to support the next generation of family doctors as much as we can.’ But there still remain questions about whether the exam is ‘cost-neutral’ as not all costs are declared.
Away from the college’s finances, she was the face of the profession’s defence against claims that GPs were prescribing too many antibiotics and is head of the department of primary care at the University of Birmingham.