Women in general practice | Leadership: Iona Heath

May 19, 05:15 PM

Iona Heath reflects on her motivation to stand for College Council.


Image credit:  Lotte Therese Newman, Christian Furr, 1997, RCGP collection/Tamás Kolóti Photography 

So I'd been training for a few years and the great and the good in the College were looking to suspend training in North East Thames region because the directorate was so dysfunctional. We had a meeting out in the eastern suburbs, Ilford, and I remember driving out there and I remember driving back even more furious than when I went out. And Denis Pereira Gray had come to speak to us about it. And I have huge respect for Denis now. I certainly didn't then. And they just wouldn't listen to us. 

Anyway, I was so angry I came back, and I saw in the College journal, ’cause I was a member by then, that if you stand in the national ballot, at that time you had to make a fifty word election statement. 

I just wrote – sadly I haven't kept it, it’s a real shame that I haven't kept it, but it was a rant about how out of touch the top of the profession was, and I just wanted to you know, vent my anger. I hadn't realised that it was very easy to get elected. So, I got, topped the ballot, put Marshall Marinker off Council. Poor old Marshall, it wasn't fair. So then I was on College Council all of a sudden. Not intending to be at all. I just was wanting to be cross. And again, of course, that was very interesting. I arrived a complete unknown. They were all very wary of me, who'd made this statement about how terrible they all were. But, you know, I was on College Council until I became President so, for a long time and it was very interesting, and I learnt a huge amount. 
Please note that the views expressed in these recordings are those of the interviewees, within their historical context, and may not represent RCGP views or policy.