Royal College of General Practitioners appoints new chief examiner and announces new route for membership

Professor Rich Withnall will become the new Chief Examiner at the Royal College of General Practitioners in the summer after Dr MeLing Denney has stepped down from the role.  

Professor Withnall is currently an honorary surgeon to Her Majesty The Queen and is shortly to assume the role of UK Ministry of Defence’s Director of Healthcare in the rank of Air Vice-Marshal.  

Dr MeLing Denney is leaving the post after joining the panel of examiners in 1996, and has held the role of Chief Examiner since 2017.  

The news of the new Chief Examiner appointment comes as the Royal College has announced there will be a new way of joining the RCGP.

Applications to join the RCGP, through the new programme “Membership for all” will open on the 4th of May 2021. Applicants must have been registered on General Medical Council’s GP register for five years and have completed either one revalidation cycle or the Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR).    

The new membership route is hoped to attract a broader spectrum of GPs from across the UK and increase diversity across the membership body.  

College President, Professor Amanda Howe, said: “Membership by Assessment of Performance has been a successful route to RCGP membership for thousands of established GPs, but the needs of our members are changing and the College is keen to become a more inclusive membership organisation that welcomes and supports all GPs.” 

Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Joint Honorary Secretary, said: “The new more inclusive route to College membership will ensure more GPs are able to benefit from College membership and representation.  We hope it will also encourage greater participation in the College by groups that are currently under-represented and look forward to welcoming those new members to our College.”