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Who is the next RCGP chair?

Helen Stoke - Online

Helen Stoke – Online

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard is the new chair-elect of the RCGP, taking over from Dr Maureen Baker in November.

Dr Stokes-Lampard promised to be ’fearless in fighting for general practice’ if she became chair and to be a ’uniting force’.

She said: ‘As a GP partner of 14 years in the Midlands, benefitting from the opportunities of a challenging portfolio career, I have a huge range of experiences to call upon; including the skills necessary to unite warring factions and I only promise what I can realistically deliver.’

And this unifying approach will be key as the college works to ensure that the investment promised in the GP Forward View reaches practices on the front-line.

Don’t be fooled by the soft Welsh accent accent, Dr Stokes-Lampard is a hard operator. She was responsible for kicking the RCGP finances into shape after moving into their new headquarters in London, which involved a number of redundancies and some controversial changes to charges for trainees.

She has had some big wins, for example getting HM Revenue & Customs to agree that trainees can deduct the costs of their MRCGP exams from their tax bill. 

The Lichfield GP is also head of academic primary care teaching at the University of Birmingham, but you could not accuse her of being in an ‘ivory tower’. Dr Stokes-Lampard has honed her media skills, undertaking national TV interviews and radio appearances on behalf of the college. Speaking out confidently and compellingly about the need to invest in general practice and defending the profession from attacks, for example over antibiotic prescribing.

Pulse predicted that she was likely to become the next RCGP chair last year, but she will take over leadership of the college at a very difficult time for general practice. Her infectious optimism may be tested over the coming months, but that – and her impressive work ethic – put her in an excellent position to be a positive influence on the profession.