The Royal College of GPs has elected its first female chair in 50 years.

Lambeth GP Dr Clare Gerada, who specialises in treating substance misuse, will hold the post for three years.

She takes over from present incumbent Professor Steve Field in November and will be the first female chair since Dr Annis Gillie 50 years ago.

Dr Gerada said: “It is an enormous privilege to be appointed chair of the RCGP at such a significant and historic time for general practice.

“As a frontline clinician, I am well aware of the of the major challenges - and opportunities - facing modern general practice and am looking forward to leading the college through the next exciting stage of its development, including our 60th anniversary in 2012.”

Dr Gerada’s election means that for the first time in college history the majority of RCGP officer posts will be held by women. Dr Iona Heath succeeded Professor David Haslam as president and Professor Amanda Howe became honorary secretary - taking over from Dr Maureen Baker - in November 2009.