As the British Medical Association seeks a replacement for the outgoing GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the organisation has confirmed that two candidates are currently being strongly considered.
No further GPs have chosen to put themselves forward ahead of a major vote on the appointment.
The two candidates understood to be vying for the post are current acting GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey and current GPC executive team member Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, both of whom will be a extremely familiar to all healthcare professionals.
Members of the BMA’s GP committee will vote to elect a successor to Nagpaul, after a process in which candidates are not permitted to campaign publicly.
Nagpaul has been a general practitioner in Stanmore since 1990, and is stepping down as GPC chair after being elected chair of the BMA.
In addition to this BMA duties, Nagpaul is a BMA Council member, a member of its Political Board, and GPC member on the BMA Public Health Committee and Consultants Committee, as well as being Honorary Secretary of his local BMA Division.
Dr Vautrey has served as deputy to two GPC chairs – Dr Nagpaul and his predecessor Dr Laurence Buckman.
The Leeds GP was also a negotiator under Dr Hamish Meldrum’s chairmanship of the GPC and has been a GPC member since 2001.
Devon GP Dr Sanford-Wood had been a GPC member for five years when he was appointed to the GPC executive team last year.
Both candidates have spoken out strongly about the crisis facing general practice.
Vautrey spoke strongly on the matter at the BMA annual representative meeting in Bournemouth earlier this year.
While Dr Sanford-Wood wrote ahead of this year’s LMCs conference in Glasgow that there was no margin for error in delivery of support for general practice promised in the GP Forward View.
The significance of this position cannot be underestimated, as it is undoubtedly one of the most important within the healthcare system in Britain.
Nagpaul was ranked as the 25th most powerful person in the English NHS in December 2013, and in a list of the 100 top clinical leaders in 2014.
The aforementioned Porter, meanwhile, has been a strong critic of government policy towards the NHS.
In December 2013 he warned the British Medical Association that “the financial outlook is dire. The NHS is struggling just to keep pace. A growing and ageing population, public health problems like obesity, and constant advances in treatment and technology are all contributing to push NHS costs well above general inflation. The numbers overall are so bad that if the NHS was a country, it would barely have a credit rating at all.”