The role of the Council
Our Council is our governing body. It sets our strategy and goals to ensure we're doing all we can to protect the public's health and safety across the UK.
Here you will find information about our Council Chair and its members, which includes six medical professionals and six members with no medical background. It covers what is expected of all our members and what committees each member sits on.
The Council's responsibilities
Council is responsible for the overall control of the organisation; it provides strategic leadership to the GMC and holds the executive to account. It ensures the organisation fulfils its statutory and charitable purposes to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.
- Exercises strategic leadership and strategic decision making, including setting the GMC’s overall goals and high-level policies, defining its mission and values, and shaping a positive organisational culture.
- Holds the Chief Executive and his/her team to account, ensuring that the GMC fulfils its statutory duties and charitable purpose. This includes making sure that it has effective governance systems in place, setting appropriate schemes of delegation, and ensuring probity in all its activities.
- Ensures that the GMC maintains effective relations with key interests and that processes are in place for meeting its obligations to other organisations.
- Sustains and monitors its own performance, overseeing the recruitment of members, and develops the capacity to work effectively.
For more information about the work of the GMC, please visit its website: www.gmc-uk.org
Who sits on the Council?
Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen
Acting Chair of Council and registrant member, Scotland
GMC Ref No: 2553610
Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen is Acting Chair of the GMC.
Carrie appointed as Acting Chair in August 2021.
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, until 2020 and is Past-President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
Carrie is 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 is a specialty advisor to the Scottish Chief Medical Officer and leads the Scottish Eyecare Workstream. Carrie has served on several committees in support of education, training and assessment and NHS committees regarding service re-design for general medical services. She chairs the multi-professional subcommittee of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the Trustee Board of the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, is a trustee of the Moorfields Eye Charity and a member of the council of the University of Exeter.
Mr Steven Burnett
Lay member, Wales
Steve Burnett is currently a Non-Executive Director at Golden Charter Ltd, a Non-Executive Director at HM Treasury Government Internal Audit Agency and Senior Independent Director at the Wales Audit Office.
He has 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
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.
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
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 31 years..
He is a Professor of Primary Care and Director of Graduate Studies at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford and a Governing Body Fellow of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford.
Anthony is currently the Deputy Chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which advises the UK government on vaccine policy. He is currently advising government on the optimal Covid-19 vaccination strategy.
He developed and is adviser for the British Medical Journal diagnostic series ‘Easily Missed?’ He is a Board member of GMC Services International Ltd.
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.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Lay member, England
Philip Hunt has been a member of the House of Lords since 1997. His main interests are health, social care and constitutional affairs. Philip was Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Department of Health from 1998 until 2003, was a Minister of State for Health in 2007 and was Deputy Leader of the Lords from 2008-2010. He also held the role of Shadow Spokesperson on health.
He is currently supporting patient groups campaigning on access to medicines, standards of wound care, surgical mesh, and prescribed medicine addiction. He is President of the Health Care Supply Association, Hospital Caterers Association and GS1, the Barcoding Association. Philip is a past President of the Royal Society of Public Health. He is Treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Health Group. He is a Trustee of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the Foundation for Liver Research.
Philip lives in Birmingham. He is a keen cyclist, supporter of Birmingham City FC and Warwickshire County Cricket Club. He is a patron of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Professor Paul Knight OBE
Registrant member, Scotland
GMC Ref No: 2343239
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 is leading the development of the health and social care infrastructure related to eligibility for disability benefits as Chief Officer for Health and Social Care Operations.
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
As Chief Executive of Neon and Visiting Professor for Immersive Futures with Ulster University, Deepa specialises in the use of immersive technologies for health and wellbeing. As an artist Deepa has a strong focus on public art light installations.
Deepa currently holds three Non-Executive directorships: the Public Health Agency NI; Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Registers of Scotland. She is also 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. 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.
Dr Raj Patel MBE
Registrant member, England
GMC Ref No: 3103487
Dr Raj Patel is Deputy National Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement. 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 has been a GP partner in Greater Manchester since 1993 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 sits on the General Assembly of the university. Raj was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday honours list 2019 for services to healthcare.
Dr Suzanne Shale
Lay member, England
Suzanne Shale is an independent ethics consultant, working with organisations across health and social care, the third sector, and the criminal justice system. Suzanne chairs the London Policing Ethics Panel and in 2020 joined the national independent policing ethics committee advising on aspects of policing the pandemic.
She has been actively involved in quality assurance of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, working with Higher Education England and its predecessor organisations, universities in the UK, overseas education ministries, and as an Associate with the GMC.
Suzanne is a non-executive director at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, sits on the Independent Reconfiguration Panel advising ministers on contested NHS reconfigurations, and is a Visiting Professor at the Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London.
Miss Alison Wright
Registrant member, England
GMC Ref No: 3498288
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.