About this event

  • Date and time Fri 28 Jun 2019 from 6:00pm to 9:30pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Public Engagement Programme

Join us for an evening with Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, as our President Sir Simon Wessely interviews them about their lives and careers. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain an intimate insight into their respective transitions from medicine to politics, both having spent over 20 years on the NHS frontline before moving into roles in government. 

Earlier this year, England's first female CMO, Dame Sally, announced that she was to step down from the role to become the first female Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in the autumn. Sarah Wollaston left the Conservative party in February this year to join Change UK (formerly the Independent Group) and this month announced her resignation from Change UK to sit as an independent MP. 

They will discuss and debate a broad range of topics from their experiences within the NHS and the healthcare sector and reveal what life is really like behind the scenes in UK Government. There will also be a Q&A session and networking opportunities.

We invite you to join our drinks reception following the event.  


Unable to get to the venue to attend? 

Not to worry. We recommend booking a place on our live stream, which you can do here.


This event forms part of a new series of special events at the Royal Society of Medicine, where Professor Sir Simon Wessely will interview key figures from public life on everything from healthcare and education to significant changes which have impacted their lives.

Other events in this series: 

In conversation with Ken Loach: Wednesday 19 June 2019, 6:00 - 9:00pm

Key speakers

Professor Dame Sally Davies

Professor Dame Sally Davies

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK government.

Speaker's biography

Dame Sally was appointed Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK government in March 2011, having held the post on an interim basis since June 2010. She is an independent adviser to the government on medical matters, with particular responsibilities regarding public health.

Dame Sally advocates globally on AMR. She has spoken on AMR at numerous events including the World Health Assembly side events, the G8 science ministers’ meeting in 2015, the Global Health Security Initiative in 2015, and the UN General Assembly side event in 2016. She was chair of the 2013 AMR forum at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) and was for three years the chair of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on AMR. Most recently, Dame Sally has been appointed a co-convener of the UN Inter-Agency Co-ordination Group on AMR, set up in response to the AMR declaration made at UNGA 2016.

Dame Sally was a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board 2014-2016 and has led delegations to a range of WHO summits and forums since 2004.

She is currently a non-executive director on the boards of: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; Genomics England Ltd; The Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; The Clinton Health Access Initiative; and UK Research & Innovation. She was formerly on the boards of Cumberland Lodge and Ashridge Business School.

From 2004-2016, Dame Sally was the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for the Department of Health (DH), where she was actively involved in NHS R&D from its establishment and founded the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Dame Sally received her DBE in 2009. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014 and a member of the National Academy of Medicine, USA in 2015.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

Member of Parliament for the constituency of Totnes, and Chair of the Liaison Committee and the Health Select Committee in the House of Commons.

Speaker's biography

Sarah worked on the frontline of the NHS for twenty-four years before entering Parliament in 2010. She spent several years as a police forensic examiner for Devon and Cornwall Police – mostly seeing victims of sexual or domestic violence. For eleven years she worked as a GP on Dartmoor and taught junior doctors and medical students as well as examining for the Royal College of General Practitioners. When Sarah was elected in 2010, she became the 303rd female MP in history.

In 2014, Sarah was elected by MPs from both sides of the House of Commons to chair the Health Select Committee. The Committee has published a number of influential reports looking at spending and forward planning in the NHS, including public health post-2013, a review of the Comprehensive Spending Review and the growing pressures on A&E departments.

The Committee’s work on childhood obesity led to the publication of a Public Health England report on the evidence for action on sugar consumption and resulted in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. Sarah was re-elected as chair unopposed in 2017. Sarah is also chair of the Liaison Committee, whose membership is made up of the chairs of other Select Committees in the House and which holds an evidence session with the Prime Minister three times a year. In February 2019 she resigned from the Conservative party and joined the newly formed Independent Group.


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President, Royal Society of Medicine

In conversation with Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP

Interviewed by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President, Royal Society of Medicine

Closing remarks

Professor Roger Kirby, Chairman Academic Board, Royal Society of Medicine and Consultant Urologist, London

Drinks reception


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

Other events at the RSM

RPM54 Promo

In conversation with Ken Loach

Join us for the first in a new series of special RSM events where our President, Sir Simon Wessely, interviews keys figures from public life on everything from education and healthcare to significant changes which have impacted their lives.

  • Location Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom
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Empathy in healthcare: Practice, teaching and design

Jointly organised by the Oxford Empathy Programme, delegates will learn about the role and importance of empathy in healthcare from current research, education, policy, practice and patient perspectives.

  • Price £35 - £142
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom