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Revealed: Shock decision to reverse RCGP chair election

Exclusive One of the candidates for chair of RCGP council is to write to the chief executive - after her appointment as chair-elect was reversed on Friday - questioning the lawfulness of the decision to re-run the election for Dr Clare Gerada’s successor.

Pulse has learnt that Dr Maureen Baker was elected unopposed as RCGP chair earlier this month, after the leadership bid from the only other candidate - RCGP vice-chair Dr Steve Mowle - was declared ‘ineligible to stand for election’ by chief executive Neil Hunt.

But this decision was reversed yesterday, with RCGP Council deciding to re-run the election due to a ‘technical error’.

Mr Hunt had sent a letter to all RCGP Council members on 21 February saying that Dr Mowle did not ‘satisfy the specified requirements for achieving formal nomination’ and declaring that Dr Baker was therefore automatically elected chair elect ‘in accordance with the college’s byelaws and governance structure’. Read the full letter here.

But in a statement released yesterday, RCGP Council said that ‘in the interests of democracy’ they would re-run the election process again.

Dr Baker said the decision was ‘highly regrettable’ and that she will be writing to Mr Hunt to question the lawfulness of the decision to re-run the election process.

She told Pulse: ‘I am concerned that the decision to announce me as chair-elect was clearly lawful and backed up by legal advice. Therefore my concern is that the decision of council may be unlawful and I will be writing to the chief executive asking for clarity on that matter.’

But she added that she would taking part in the process as it will be a ‘positive thing for the college’. She said: ‘I am confident that in any such contest I can put forward the most confident and constructive ideas.’

The RCGP did not wish to comment on this story and would not specify why Dr Mowle was declared ineligible to stand. Dr Mowle was also approached for comment, but declined the opportunity.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Why am I not surprised. The college is not being transparent again. What would be the 'technical error' in question. With the current state of affairs and the low level of trust the college has, I wonder if anyone else will apply for the post!! Embarrassing indeed!!!

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  • I am not sure how much of this actually matters to most GPs.

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  • Dr Baker got the job fair and square. Why is Council supporting an ineligible candidate? It's a parody of the MP's expenses scandal, whereby they wrote their own rules.

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  • At least they never told Al Gore or the US electorate that he was elected US President. This is highly irregular and unbelievably incompetent. Dr Mole should have the decency to accept defeat gracefully and use the next three years to get his candidacy in order.

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  • This incompetence from the College stinks of power polarisation somewhere along the line.
    How can an organization like RCGP lacks practical process of compliance & governance in electing their chair.
    That brings about the question as to how can you trust RCGP's voice on national NHS agenda scenario?

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  • 'in the interests of democracy'..!!!!

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  • Lol !!

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  • In 2009, Dr Mowle became a member of RCGP Council despite Dr Alison Hill getting more votes but, again, there was 'an admin error' and Dr Hill graciously declined her seat. So, if Mowle goes on to be Chairman, which is clearly what Council is trying to engineer, he will be doubly illegitimate with no support from the membership at large. The RCGP has a very strange grasp of fairness and democracy!

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  • Terrific. Just when GP's need to demonstrate their ability to drive the NHS their professional organisation demonstrates utter and complete incompetence. Why did you guys do this? Why? Why? Why?. Clare brought brilliant professionalism to the world, real intelligence and a massive non GP following. Why screw it up?

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