Sir Donald Irvine

Sir Donald Irvine


Sir Donald Irvine, CBE, MD, FRCGP, FRCP, FMedSCi
Ex-President of the General Medical Council, UK


“Patients want doctors who are technically excellent, honest and reliable, and who respect them and make them feel special. For them, the good doctor–the true professional–manages to combine scientific prowess with complete integrity and care for people.” - Sir Donald Irvine


After qualifying from Newcastle Medical School in 1958, Sir Donald was a general practitioner in Northumberland for 35 years. For 20 of those years he was also regional adviser for general practice at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Between 1983 and 1985 he served as chairman of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners. In 1995 he was elected president of the General Medical Council, the first general practitioner to hold that office.

Throughout his career, Sir Donald has had extensive teaching and research interests, focused primarily on general practice and on standards of practice and the quality of health care. As chairman of the GMC Standards Committee he was responsible for the development of “Good Medical Practice,” which sets out the duties and responsibilities of every UK doctor and the standards that form the basic template for modern medical regulation and education. Maintaining quality of practice and reforming regulation were the central themes of Sir Donald’s presidency of the GMC.

He has written and lectured extensively on general practice, medical education, patient-centred professionalism and quality themes in health. He has been awarded honorary degrees from six UK universities and honorary fellowships from five medical royal colleges. In 2004 he was presented with the Picker Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient-Centered Care.

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