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Leading female GPs warn GPC’s all-male negotiating team ‘looks unbalanced’

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said she was ‘sad' to hear of the result, while Dr Fay Wilson, former chair of the LMCs conference, warned it showed ‘the glass ceiling is rather resistant'.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, a GP in St Columb Major in Cornwall who was also the GPC's youngest negotiator, lost her post last week after five candidates stood for four positions, with former GPC Scotland chair Dr Dean Marshall elected at her expense.

The vote at the GPC's meeting in Edinburgh – which saw Dr Marshall awarded a three-year term and Dr Richard Vautrey, Dr Chaand Nagpaul and Dr Peter Holden all re-elected for one year each – means that all seven GPs on the GPC's UK negotiating team are now men.

Dr Fay Wilson, a GP in Birmingham and senior GPC member, told Pulse: ‘As an old-fashioned feminist I regret this in principle however much I respect them as individuals. The glass ceiling is rather resistant and whatever people's capability the GPC ‘front bench' looks a bit unbalanced.'

She added: ‘However, like all representatives on GPC the negotiators are there to represent everyone, not just people like them.'

Meanwhile, Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the RCGP, said on Twitter: ‘Sad to hear that GPC have voted out only female negotiator from their team. Always good to have a woman on board if only to bring balance.'

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘The negotiator election is a democratic process. Inevitably, if five competent negotiators stand for four positions, one will not get on. That is not anti-women, it's just that somebody had to lose. I am very sorry for my colleague.'

Dr McCarron-Nash, a GP in St Columb Major in Cornwall, led predominantly on workforce and training issues during her tenure, which begun in 2008.

Commenting on the election results, she said: ‘I am obviously disappointed with the result, but congratulate the new team on their election.  I will continue to support the new negotiating team as much as I can.'

She added: ‘I have fought hard for all GPs and I believe brought a necessary balance and strong voice to the team. I will take this on the chin and more than ever carry on fighting on behalf of all grassroots GPs, ensuring the voice of working doctors is heard by ministers and managers.'