GMC welcomes five new female council members

Five outstanding women - with expertise ranging from ethical leadership and medical education to immersive technologies - are the latest members to join the GMC’s council.

Dr Vanessa Davies, Ms Lara Fielden, Professor Caroline MacEwen, Professor Deepa Mann-Kler and Dr Suzanne Shale have been appointed to start in the new year, following a competitive selection process.


Their diverse experience will help shape the GMC’s future actions, to support an inclusive and compassionate culture and leadership for the profession after its most challenging year in recent history.

Welcoming the new council members, GMC Chair Dame Clare Marx said:

‘These wonderful women, who have made outstanding contributions in their fields, will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, insight and challenge to our council.

‘To really reflect the values and interests of doctors and patients, our council needs a blend of expertise from medical and lay specialists.   

‘I am excited to work with each of them as we advance our ambitious agenda for medical regulation in the UK.’

They will replace Lady Christine Eames, Professor Deirdre Kelly, Dame Suzi Leather and Dame Denise Platt who have each served eight years, as well as Amerdeep Somal who stepped down earlier this year to take a role with the Financial Conduct Authority.


Speaking about the Council members who are leaving, Dame Clare continued:

‘I would also like to sincerely thank the council members who are leaving for their many years of dedicated service; we are genuinely grateful for their wonderful work legacy. 

‘I wish them all success in their next ventures and know that they will be a valuable asset wherever they go.’

The new members

Dr Vanessa Davies followed an early academic career and work at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before training as a barrister. 

She was deputy CEO for a large legal aid charity for refugees and served as Director General of the Bar Standards Board. She is a non-executive director at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal and a lay member of the House of Lords Conduct Committee

Having carved a diverse career in regulation and governance, Ms Lara Fielden has extensive experience managing and delivering reform across a range of sectors.

She’s held leadership roles with the London Community Rehabilitation Company, London Probation Trust Serious Further Offences Committee, the Board of the Independent Press Standards Organisation and the Bar Standards Board. She also Chaired the Governors of the Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street and UCH.

Professor Carrie MacEwen is the immediate past Chair of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges in the UK. A consultant ophthalmologist at NHS Tayside and specialty advisor to the Scottish Chief Medical Officer she is also a past president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Her research accomplishments are recognised internationally. 

She has led the ‘Getting it right first time’ ophthalmology programme for NHS England/Improvement, and has extensive experience in education, training and assessment.

A tireless advocate of equality and inclusion, Professor Deepa Mann-Kler has written extensively on racism and held senior roles with the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council. She has also worked in non-executive director roles with Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

She is Chief Executive of Neon, an immersive technology company exploring innovations for health and wellbeing. 

Dr Suzanne Shale spent 15 years at the University of Oxford as a Lecturer and Fellow in Law, prior to becoming an independent ethics consultant. She brings expertise in patient experience, ethical leadership and clinical human factors. Her research, consultancy and voluntary work all focus on creating ethical and responsive organisations.

She chairs the London Policing Ethics Panel and following this appointment will be stepping down from chairing the UK wide charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA).