Dr Charlotte Jones to join GPC negotiating team
The GPC negotiating team will have at least one female member from later this month, after Dr Charlotte Jones was declared the next chair of GPC Wales.
Dr Charlotte Jones, currently deputy chair of GPC Wales, will replace Dr David Bailey as chair from 26 July after no other doctor challenged her for the position.
Pulse has also learnt that former chair of the LMCs Conference Dr Fay Wilson and chief executive of Londonwide LMCs Dr Michelle Drage are also considering a joint bid for GPC chair.
The news will be welcomed by GP representatives who had expressed concern about the lack of female representation at the top of the profession, with LMCs voting in favour of a full investigation into why there are were no female negotiators at their annual conference in May.
It comes as the GPC is gearing up to also elect a new UK-wide GPC chair at a meeting in London on 18 July, when Dr Laurence Buckman steps down after six years in the role. Nominations are open until Friday this week, but confirmed candidates include negotiators Dr Dean Marshall, Dr Chaand Nagpaul and Dr Richard Vautrey, the current deputy chair.
The UK negotiator positions currently held by Dr Nagpaul, Dr Vautrey and Dr Peter Holden are also up for grabs and it is understood there are a large number of candidates vying for the positions.
This includes outgoing GPC Wales chair Dr Bailey as well as Dr Beth McCarron Nash, who lost her negotiator position last year.
The chairs of the devolved nations are automatically members of the UK GPC negotiating team, but Dr Jones said she would not be viewed as a ‘token female’ on the team.
She said: ‘I will be a member of the UK negotiating team and that is exciting. It is good [there is a woman on the team again] but obviously we need the right people to do the job and I understand there is a really good mix of candidates going for both chair and the negotiator positions.
‘It will be really exciting and good to see what happens later in July. Certainly I don’t feel I am a token female on the team, I am there because of my commitment and my enthusiasm. I am keen we get the right team. Whether that is a mix of genders it is essential we get the right team, especially given what has happened in England over the last few years.’
Commenting on why she wanted to chair the Welsh GPC, she added: ‘There are things we need to do urgently in Wales to ensure there is a sustainable workforce now and in the future. We must ensure general practice is an attractive career and we will achieve that by ensuring GPs are valued for their work, by reducing tick-boxing and bureaucracy and increasing their freedom to do more of the innovative work, taking GPs back to doing what they are passionate about and be able to flourish.’