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President’s update: August 2017

Greetings all. Let me introduce myself. I am the new El Presidente of the RSM. When I took up the post the outgoing President promised me that meant I could now wear a white suit, dark glasses and travel in a limousine with tinted windows surrounded by beautiful women and a coterie of gun toting bodyguards. Turns out Mr Sethia was not telling me the truth, and instead my first task is to continue the tradition he so nobly started by writing my first regular newsletter for you.

OK, let’s start with the serious stuff. On my last day of freedom before taking over the chain of office I sat in on B’s last RSM Council Meeting. That means that he doesn’t have to feedback to you what happened and has left that to me. So the main news is that we approved the budget for our 2017/18 year and confirmed that a vendor had been selected for our major new CRM and website projects.

You don’t know what the CRM is? Actually nor do I – but I gather it’s Customer Relationship Management. Nope, none the wiser, but they tell me that will help to transform the way the Society works and engages with you, our members, and our customers. Sounds good to me, even if I know as much about IT systems as I do about quantum mechanics.

Elections have had a bit of a bad press recently, but I am happy to confirm that following one of them Professor Gillian Leng will continue as the Society’s Honorary Librarian for the next four years. On the other hand three of our elected trustees – Professor James Malpas, Dr Rashmi Patel and Mr Peter Richardson – attended their last Council meeting and will step down shortly, and on behalf of our Council I would like to thank them for their contributions and support.

In addition, Professor Sir Andy Haines (who I knew before he was either a Sir or Professor – I am pleased to say he wears both titles lightly) completes his term of office. He has helped us particularly in the area of Global Health – no surprises there since he practically invented the field.

Later the same day Mr Sethia performed his last ceremonial duties. The RSM Medal was presented to Professor John Betteridge former RSM Dean in recognition of his service to the Society and we admitted four new Honorary Fellows: Baroness Susan Greengross, Professor David Howard, Professor Tilli Tansey and Professor Sir Michael Rawlins GBE.

Many moons ago I was Mike Rawlins’ SHO up in Newcastle, although he did even then spend a lot of time down in London. Nevertheless, the lad has done well, hasn’t he? Not many people could upstage that galaxy of talent, except for one, and that was Professor Sir Michael Marmot who was awarded our Gold Medal. He had spent most of the day in TV studios launching his report showing that rises in life expectancy have stalled since 2010. At one point our Secretary of State tried to challenge him on statistics – an encounter from which there could only be one winner.

And so we ended with the handing over of the chain of office (it’s a lot heavier by the way than the one they use at the Royal College of Psychiatrists – am sure there is a message there somewhere), after which I started my own term with a very warm and well deserved tribute to Mr Sethia, who has been a superb President in every respect. After all, who else has managed to get MasterChef to film an episode here? Of course he has also done much more to improve our educational offer and to really kick start a sustained commitment to Andy Haines’s invention – namely global health. So I am very pleased that B has agreed to remain involved with us for the future – a relief all round.

At this point you are expecting me to do the “vision” thing. Sadly, you will have to curb your enthusiasm just for a little longer, but I can tell you about some great things coming up, none of which were anything to do with me. So free up your diary for Saturday 19 August when we will be debating the NHS – the past, present and the future.

It will be a day of lively debate culminating with a keynote speech from the genuinely world-renowned Professor Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time. I can tell you that I am coming back from holiday just to be there. And if that doesn’t get you hyperventilating then nothing will.

Also do note our other sadly all too topical meeting before the start of our new academic year on Thursday 7 September where we will have discussions around the response of the emergency services to the London and Manchester terrorist attacks. We’re lucky to have persuaded both Cressida Dick, London Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and Mr Garrett Emmerson, Chief Executive or the London Ambulance Service to join us.

OK, that’s enough for now. As I write this I am off to the Oval to watch another England batting collapse. In the meantime, good luck to all our all newly qualified doctors as you kick off your careers, and remember, things can only get better.

To contact the President you can email or follow him on Twitter @WesselyS

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