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New members of GMC Council appointed

Press Release

09 Dec 2016

A GP and a consultant in geriatric medicine are among four new members to be appointed to the governing body of the General Medical Council (GMC).

I am delighted to welcome Amerdeep, Anthony, Paul and Steve to the Council of the GMC

Terence Stephenson

Professor Anthony Harnden, a GP from England with a clinical and research interest in primary care paediatrics, and Professor Paul Knight, a consultant physician in geriatric medicine at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, will become members of the GMC’s Council on 1 January 2017.

They will be joined by two new lay members of Council – Amerdeep Somal, Independent Assessor for the Financial Ombudsman Service, and Steve Burnett, a former actuary from Wales with 35 years’ experience in the financial services sector.

Professor Terence Stephenson, the Chair of the General Medical Council, said:

‘I am delighted to welcome Amerdeep, Anthony, Paul and Steve to the Council of the GMC. Their wealth of experience will make sure that the decisions that we take as an independent body will continue to be rooted in the everyday experiences of doctors, as well as help us to exercise strong financial governance in the years ahead’.

The four new Council members were appointed by the Privy Council and will serve a four year term until 31 December 2020. Their appointments followed an open recruitment process overseen by a panel of independent members chaired by Professor Terence Stephenson.

Professor Paul Knight and Steve Burnett will replace Professor Jim McKillop and Enid Rowlands, who will stand down as Council members after eight years distinguished service.

Professor Stephenson continued:

‘I want to thank Jim and Enid for the critical role they have played in setting out a clear vision and direction for the GMC at a time of great change for doctors and patients. As Council members they have helped to establish a range of important initiatives that have improved medical education and practice across the UK.’

The Privy Council has re-appointed the following members of the GMC’s Council from 1 January 2017: Dr Shree Datta, Lady Christine Eames, Professor Michael Farthing, Baroness Helene Hayman, Professor Deirdre Kelly, Dame Suzi Leather and Dame Denise Platt.   

Notes to editors

1. Candidates appeared before a panel of independent members chaired by Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the General Medical Council. The panel members – independent of the GMC and of Government – were:

  • Baroness Usha Prashar, Deputy Chair of the British Council
  • Kaliani Lyle, member of the Board of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
  • Sir Stephen O’Brien, Chairman of London Works and a Trustee of Barts Charity and Foundation For Future London.

2. GMC Council members are entitled to remuneration of £18,000 per year, for a time commitment of up to three days a month.

3. The Council is the governing body of the GMC. The Council comprises 12 members - six medical and six lay members - all of whom are appointed following an independent appointments process.

4. It was a requirement of the process that two of the appointments would be for members who must live or work wholly or mainly in Wales or Scotland.

5. The Council ensures that the GMC is properly managed by the Chief Executive and his team and that the organisation fulfils its statutory and charitable purposes to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. Council members are also the trustees of the GMC, which is a registered charity.

Biographies of new Council members

6. Steve 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.

7. Professor Anthony Harnden (Registrant member)

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 26 years. He is also a Professor of Primary Care 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 a Deputy Chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and Chairman of the Adolescent sub-committee. He is a specialist member of NICE Quality Standards Advisory Committee for Immunisation uptake in the under 19s. He developed and is adviser for the British Medical Journal diagnostic series ‘Easily Missed?’

He was formerly the National Clinical Champion for Child Health at the Royal College of General Practitioners. He was the primary care lead for the Confidential Enquiry in Child Deaths and a Board Trustee at the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries. During the last pandemic he was a member of the Department of Health Pandemic Influenza Operational Advisory Group.

8. Professor Paul Knight (Registrant member, Scotland)

Paul Knight is Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and an honorary Professor of Medicine at Glasgow University. He is currently Director of Medical Education for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, but will step down from this role at the end of 2016.

He is the Treasurer of the Scottish Association of Medical Directors and the secondary care appraisal lead for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (as appraisal lead he manages the system of appraisal and not the performance of individuals, and does not deputise for the Responsible Officer or manage fitness to practise issues).

He was previously chair of the Scottish Directors of Medical Education; was the 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.

 9. Amerdeep Somal (Lay member)

Amerdeep Somal is the Independent Assessor for the Financial Ombudsman Service and a Council member of Nottingham Trent University where she is also a member of the audit committee. She is also an Independent Public Appointments Assessor for the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments and a Judge of the First Tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

Until recently Amerdeep was a lay member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council where she was also a member its remuneration committee, audit committee and patient and public forum.

Amerdeep was previously a Commissioner of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, a member of the Audit Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Housing Trust and a Board Member of Nottingham Asian Women’s Aid.


The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

  • We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
  • We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
  • We take action when we believe a doctor may be putting the safety of patients, or the public's confidence in doctors, at risk.

We are not here to protect doctors - their interests are protected by others. Our job is to protect the public.

We are independent of government and the medical profession and accountable to Parliament. Our powers are given to us by Parliament through the Medical Act 1983.

We are a registered charity (number 1089278 with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and number SC037750 with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), we have to show that our aims are for public benefit.

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