The role of Council

Council is our governing body. It provides strategic direction, holds the executive to account, and takes major high-level policy decisions. It comprises twelve members from the four countries of the UK. Six are registrant members and six are lay members.

Council generally meets six times a year.  In line with our commitments to four country working and to reducing our environmental impact, Council meets in London or Manchester, and once in either Belfast, Cardiff or Edinburgh. Other meetings may be held in person or more likely, virtually.

Council business is conducted in an open and transparent manner and the agenda and papers for each meeting   published on our website.

We are a registered charity, and our Council members are also the trustees of the organisation.

Council members


Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen
Chair of Council and registrant member, Scotland

GMC Ref No: 2553610

Read more

Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen is Chair of the GMC, appointed in May 2022.

Carrie has been a member of Council since January 2021 and served as Acting Chair from August 2021 to May 2022.

Carrie is a consultant ophthalmologist for NHS Tayside and Honorary Professor at the University of Dundee. She served as Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges between 2017 and 2020 and is Past-President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Carrie has served on several committees in support of education, training and assessment of healthcare professionals and NHS committees regarding service re-design for medical services. She is a trustee of the Moorfields Eye Charity.  She chaired the Trustee Board of the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership until the end of 2023, and she was a member of the council of the University of Exeter.

Carrie was specialty ophthalmology advisor to the Scottish Chief Medical Officer for over a decade and led the Scottish Eyecare Workstream, ceasing this role in June 2022. She was the clinical co-lead for the ophthalmology ‘Getting It Right First Time’ programme and the Eye Care Recovery and Transformation Programme for NHS England/Improvement.  She was also chair of the multi-professional subcommittee of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Mr Steven Burnett

Lay member, Wales

Read more

Steve Burnett is a Voluntary Board Member at the Wales Audit Office, and a Trustee for the GMC Pension scheme.

Steve Burnett was previously a Non-Executive Director at Golden Charter Ltd, and a Non-Executive Director at HM Treasury Government Internal Audit Agency.  He has also previously been the Senior Independent Director at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust Hospital.

After a long career in the financial services sector, Steve retired from the position of CEO of Royal Liver Assurance in 2009. During his time as CEO the organisation addressed financial challenges whilst also modernising its product range and service approach, entering new markets and reinventing its role in the sector. Steve is a retired actuary.

Dr Vanessa Davies

Lay member, Scotland

Read more

Vanessa served as a senior civil servant in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before training as a barrister, gaining a graduate diploma in law and the Bar professional postgraduate qualification. She spent three years as deputy CEO for a large legal aid charity working in refugee and asylum and immigration law. In 2010, Vanessa was appointed Director General of the Bar Standards Board, retiring in January 2020. She was appointed as a Decision Maker for complaints about Ministers or former Ministers, Scottish Government, in February 2022.

Vanessa’s non-executive portfolio includes being a Charity Trustee for Support through Court 2007–16, and Law for Life 2016 to date. She has been on the Board of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education since 2017 and chair of its Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers since 2019. Vanessa became a non-executive director at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal in 2018. In 2019 she was appointed as a lay member of the House of Lords Conduct Committee.

Professor Anthony Harnden

Registrant member, England

GMC Ref No: 2807869

Read more

Anthony Harnden is a general practitioner with a clinical and research interest in primary care paediatrics. He has worked as a Principal in General Practice at Morland House Surgery, Wheatley Oxfordshire for 33 years.

He is a Professor of Primary Care at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford.

Anthony was appointed a Lay Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission in January 2024.

In January 2024 he stepped down as the GP member and Deputy Chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which advises the UK government on vaccine policy.

He was formerly the National Clinical Champion for Child Health at the Royal College of General Practitioners, the inaugural Chairman of the WHO Global Network of National Immunisation and Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs), the primary care lead for the Confidential Enquiry in Child Deaths and a Board Trustee at the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries.

Professor Paul Knight OBE

Registrant member, Scotland

GMC Ref No: 2343239

Read more

Paul Knight is an honorary Professor of Medicine at Glasgow University.  He is currently seconded from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to Social Security Scotland where he has lead the development of the health and social care infrastructure related to eligibility for disability benefits and is currently Chief Medical Adviser.

He has recently stepped down from being Chair of the editorial board of Age and Aging, and of the Atlas of Variation workstream of Realistic Medicine for the Scottish Government.

He was previously the Director of Medical Education and Secondary Care Appraisal Lead for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Chair of the Scottish Directors of Medical Education, President of the British Geriatrics Society, President of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, Registrar of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and a Non-Executive Board Member of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland. He was the Associate Post Graduate Dean for Management Education in the Scotland West Region Deanery.

Professor Deepa Mann-Kler

Lay member, Northern Ireland

Read more

As Chief Executive of Neon, Director of Belfast XR Festival and Visiting Professor for Immersive Futures with Ulster University, Deepa specialises in the use of immersive technologies.

Deepa currently holds Non-Executive directorships with the Public Health Agency NI and is a Member of the Professional Conduct Committee for the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

As a TEDx speaker and thought leader she regularly speaks on the intersection of digital transformation, technical innovation, health, inclusion, ethics, bias, data, artificial intelligence and creativity, all with a value basis firmly grounded in technology for good, equity, diversity, inclusion with positive social impact. Deepa is author of the first report on race discrimination with policy recommendations for the public sector in Northern Ireland, ‘Out of the Shadows’.

Deepa has an MSc in European Social Policy Analysis, Erasmus at Bath, Roskilde and Tilburg universities, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Westminster College Oxford and a BSc Social Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics.

Mr Douglas Millican

Lay member, Scotland

Read more

Douglas was Scottish Water’s chief executive for over 10 years until stepping down in May 2023. He was previously Scottish Water’s finance and regulation director and has worked in the water sector in Scotland for 27 years.

Douglas is building a portfolio of appointments in organisations that focus on delivering public or community benefit. He is Chair of World Vision UK, a Court Member and Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee of the University of Edinburgh, and a Board Member of the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation Delivery Board.

As a chartered accountant and someone who has worked in heavily regulated environments, he believes strongly in the power of effective regulation in contributing to better outcomes. Having run a water company whose primary purpose is to protect public health for the people of Scotland, and coming from a “a family full of doctors”, Douglas is delighted to have joined the GMC and feels a close affinity with its role in protecting patients.

Dr Raj Patel MBE

Registrant member, England

GMC Ref No: 3103487

Read more

Dr Raj Patel is a Trustee for the GMC Pension scheme.   He was Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement until 31st January 2023. He was formerly Medical Director of NHS England Lancashire and Greater Manchester as well as Director of Commissioning for Lancashire.

A Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Raj was a GP in Greater Manchester for thirty years and has held senior clinical leadership positions in the NHS, locally, regionally and nationally since 1997 as well as a GP advisor role at the Department of Health. He is a graduate of Manchester University Medical School and sat on the General Assembly of the university. Raj was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday honours list 2019 for services to healthcare.

Professor Suzanne Shale

Lay member, England

Read more

Suzanne Shale is an independent ethics consultant, working with organisations across health and social care, the criminal justice system and the third sector. Her current portfolio includes advising on ethics of artificial intelligence in healthcare, overseeing research on patient safety and supporting NHS Clinical Ethics Committees.

Suzanne is the Chair of Royal Trinity Hospice, a Non-executive Director at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, Chair of the London Policing Ethics Panel, and a member of the National Police Ethics Committee.

Suzanne has in the past been actively involved in quality assurance of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, working with Health Education England and its predecessor organisations, universities in the UK, overseas education ministries, and as an Associate with the GMC.

Suzanne was Chair of the national charity Action against Medical Accidents for five years before joining Council.

Dr Rajiv Wijesuriya

Registrant member, England

GMC Ref No: 7410352

Read more

Dr Wijesuriya is a working salaried and out of hours GP in Nottingham. He is Clinical Advisor to the National Vaccination and Screening programme and to the Primary Care team at NHS England.

He is also Director of Networks for the Association for the Study of Medical Education, a trustee of the Healthcare Workers Foundation and Chair of BMA Charities, which support medical students, NHS staff and refugee doctors in hardship.

Dr Wijesuriya previously held several roles in the British Medical Association, including chair of the UK Junior Doctors Committee and member of their Council.

Miss Alison Wright 

Registrant member, England

GMC Ref No: 3498288

Read more

Miss Alison Wright trained at Leeds University and in 2003 became a Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Leeds General Infirmary and St James University Hospital. She is a Board member of GMC Services International Ltd.

In 2008 she took up a Consultant post at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where she is currently based.

Alison is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and was an elected international representative and then Vice- President. During her time as Vice-President, she set up the ‘supporting our doctors’ service for Members and Fellows of the RCOG.

She is currently a national speciality adviser (NSA) in Obstetrics for NHSE/I . Her clinical interests include pelvic floor problems, childbirth trauma, maternal medicine and complex pregnancies.