Professor Sir Simon Wessely will today, Tuesday 18 July, be inaugurated as President of the Royal Society of Medicine(RSM). Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London, Sir Simon is the first psychiatrist to hold the office of RSM President. He takes over from cardiac surgeon Mr Babulal Sethia and will hold office for three years.
The Royal Society of Medicine is one of the country’s major providers of postgraduate medical education, with over 35,000 doctors and other health professionals participating in 400 multi-disciplinary educational meetings held each year. Independent and apolitical, the Society promotes an exchange of information and ideas on the science, practice and organisation of medicine.
Speaking of his plans for the RSM during his presidency, Sir Simon said: “Health in general and medicine in particular is a crowded space, but what is often missing is a neutral zone for discussions, especially those that might be perceived, fairly or unfairly, as partisan. I see the RSM as the right space (I hesitate to use the word “safe”) for debate on so many major topics – how can we mitigate the impact of the current wave of terrorism, what does a post genomic consultation look like, whither or wither surgery, how will science and medicine fare post-Brexit, how can we restore flagging morale in the medical profession, why can’t we successfully integrate physical and mental health care, and why is the future of primary care the future of the health service. Serious topics indeed, but medicine is also fun, rewarding, enlightening and enjoyable, and I trust the RSM will reflect that in equal measure.”
Sir Simon’s inauguration will follow the induction of four Honorary Fellows of the RSM; Baroness Greengross, Professor David Howard, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins and Professor Tilli Tansey. Former RSM Dean Professor John Betteridge will be awarded the RSM Medal and the ceremony will also include the presentation of the RSM Gold Medal to Professor Sir Michael Marmot.
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