Dr Gerald Coakley graduated from the Royal London Hospital Medical School in 1989. After training in Nottinghamshire and London, he was awarded an Arthritis Research Campaign Fellowship, allowing him to carry out research in immunology and immunogenetics relating to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Felty's syndrome at Guy's Hospital, part of King's College School of Medicine. This led to his PhD in 2000.
He worked as a Consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich from 2000 to 2023, when he left his NHS practice. He was Director of Medical Education from 2003 to 2013, and from 2013 to 2018 was Clinical Director for Dermatology, Neurology and Rheumatology at Lewisham & Greenwich. From 2019-22, he was Chair of the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) Education & Training Committee, and a Trustee of the BSR.