Intended for healthcare professionals


The change merchant

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 24 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1208

Hillwalker, wine drinker, and former chief scientist at the Scottish Office, Graeme Catto has just been elected president of the General Medical Council. Caroline White spoke to his colleagues to discover what the council should expect

A former secretary of state for health, Frank Dobson, once likened the speed and ease of tackling waiting lists in the NHS to turning a giant tanker round in mid-ocean. Restoring faith in the General Medical Council, the body that regulates the UK medical profession, might prove just as daunting for its president elect, Professor Graeme Catto, when he takes up his post in February next year. But as one of his colleagues remarked: “You can bet that Graeme will produce the tightest turning circle.”

Highly organised and prodigiously energetic, he brings a tremendous amount of political savvy and clear focus to the job. And beneath the disarming charm and the softly spoken, rather unassuming demeanour, lies what one of his former students terms “a core of steel.”

Those who have worked with him have variously described him as “an ideas person,” a “change merchant,” “always five miles ahead of the game,” and “an extremely strong tide,” but also as a man with a lot of common sense and a firm grasp of reality. …

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