Page 11

Professor Maureen Baker


Chair of International, Royal College of General Practitioners The immediate Past-Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners wanted to be a nun as a young girl. Inspired by The Sound of Music, she fancied running through the alpine meadows, singing as she went. Instead, she became a doctor and in 2015 was considered the 39th most influential person in the NHS.

A Scot who has spent most of her working life in Lincolnshire, Maureen was born in North Lanarkshire and is the first doctor in her family. She is the eldest daughter of a steelworker father, who later joined the ambulance service. Her mother was a teacher, and she draws inspiration from her mother and her grandmother. Maureen’s grandmother was a determined and feisty woman who was married to a coal miner and widowed in the 1940s with four young daughters. With no help from anyone else, she ensured that all four girls went on to higher education and became school teachers, which was a major achievement in those days. As well as being smart and witty, her grandmother had a wonderful and unique way with words, which Maureen finds herself using on most days. Her mother, who seems to have inherited this determined and hardworking gene, worked as a teacher while bringing up six children. Maureen has been a GP since 1985 and has worked all her professional life in GP surgeries around Lincoln. Her long marriage with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) started at a very early stage in her career, and she has since held many roles there, including being elected as Chair from November 2013 for three years. Of her many achievements, Maureen is most proud of this role. Prior to this, she was Honorary Secretary of the RCGP from 1999 for a decade, and in that time, she led the profession’s input into emergency and pandemic planning and the response to the swine flu pandemic of 2009. Under her Chairmanship, Maureen launched a nationwide campaign, ‘Put Patients First: Back the General Practice’ that successfully made a case for the need to reverse the underfunding

and understaffing in general practice. This also led to the publication of the General Practice Forward View by NHS England. She was instrumental in bringing together the Primary Care Workforce Partnership between RCGP, NHS England, Health Education England and the General Practitioners Committee to implement the ten-point plan for general practice. As a junior doctor who had been on call overnight, Maureen erroneously gave intravenous penicillin to a patient with a similar name to the patient for whom it was intended. She had only slept for an hour that night. Although no harm had come to the patient, she was horrified at her mistake and believes this is what sparked her subsequent interest in human factors and patient safety. Maureen has held appointments with the National Patient Safety Agency, NHS Direct and the University of Nottingham, where she achieved her Doctorate of Medicine (DM). Her work in patient safety includes establishing a formal clinical safety management system for NHS Connecting for Health, the development of safety standards for Health IT for the NHS in England, and the development of e-learning modules on patient safety for doctors in training. Maureen has contributed to over fifty journal and book publications and received a CBE for services to medicine in 2004. In 2014, she was named the UK’s most influential GP by Pulse. * Favourite Song: Just want to dance the night away by The Mavericks – it’s so cheerful! * Three objects Maureen cannot live without: Handbag, iPad, Phone

Maureen’s advice to junior doctors is “Be sure you look after yourself to keep you and your patients safe.”

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...