On Tuesday 18 July 2017, Professor Sir Simon Wessely was inaugurated as RSM President, taking over from cardiac surgeon Mr Babulal Sethia. Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London, Sir Simon is the first psychiatrist to hold the office of RSM President and will hold office for three years.
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.”
Prior to Sir Simon’s inauguration, the RSM Gold Medal, given for outstanding contribution to medicine, was awarded to former adviser to the government and World Health Organisation, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, on the day his influential research into life expectancy in England was published.
Former RSM Dean Professor John Betteridge was also awarded the RSM Medal for his contribution to the life of the Society.
During the evening, Baroness Greengross, Professor David Howard, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins and Professor Tilli Tansey were also inducted as Honorary Fellows of the RSM.
Honorary Fellowships are awarded to people ‘who have eminently distinguished themselves in the service of medicine and the branches of science allied to it’. The list of names is compiled by the Lectures & Awards Committee and presented to Council for consideration. It is a distinguished group that has a maximum of 100 Honorary Fellows at one time.