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Is there a problem with representation in GP leadership?

Editor's blog 

It’s that time of year again, where we reveal the 50 most influential GPs in the UK. I do believe that the majority of those listed (though by no means all) want to change the profession for the better for both GPs and patients. Many are doing so while hamstrung by politics, having to work within tight boundaries, balancing the competing interests of dozens of groups – often on top of their full-time roles.

I know not every reader would agree with this, and many dislike the list altogether for the reasons listed by Dr Pete Deveson (if you are one, check out our Power 50-free home page here). 

But, as well as celebrating their efforts and (for some) achievements, I also think there is value in shining a light on who wields the power in general practice - and who people think is wielding the power. It also allows us to look at how representative they are – something we at Pulse have not really looked at before.

Overall, leadership in general practice is more diverse than, say, chief executives of trusts, who tend to be white, middle aged and male.

It might be time for the leadership groups in the profession to ask themselves some tough questions

However, only a third of our Power 50 are women, which isn’t really good enough considering the majority of the GP workforce is female. This is not an academic point – it’s notable that two GPs on the list raised the problem of sexism at the highest levels of the BMA.

I think there is a problem in terms of ethnic diversity too. True, the list isn’t just made up of white faces. However, black GPs are well underrepresented in the Power 50, which has been the case since I started at Pulse six years ago. In fact, amazingly, only two of the 300 entries in the past six years have been black GPs.

Of course, the underrepresentation of women and black people in leadership positions is a fact across society. But general practice is often a trailblazer. And it might be time for the leadership groups in the profession to ask themselves some tough questions.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at editor@pulsetoday.co.uk

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Well said Jaimie and excellent article by Pete Deveson.

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  • Can I clarify again, Jaimie, how are the Power 50 decided on? Total number of nominations by readership?

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  • This is the politically correct approach to under representation. It is always the fault of white males.
    Could the problem be that the under represented groups are not generating individuals who want these positions of added responsiblity?
    Whenever I attend political meetings (to do with our contracts etc) there are at least 70% white males and women are a small minority. I always assumed they were busy with their own lives. I never realised we were somehow blocking them.......

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  • Is there a problem with representation in GP leadership?
    Yes, there is a problem with representation in leadership in every aspect of life from politicians, health, corporate sector etc.

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