Presidential elections: the result
Dr Wendy Burn will be RCPsych’s next President
Dr Wendy Burn was announced as the winner of the Presidential
elections on 24 January, hours after the polls closed.
33.1% of Members, Fellows and Specialist Associates voted - a
substantial increase on the last College presidential election.
Dr Burn polled more votes than fellow candidates Dr Peter Aitken, Dr J.S. Bamrah, Professor Rob Poole and Dr James Warner, and will take over from
our current President, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, in June.
Minutes after hearing the good news, Wendy said: “I am
honoured to have been elected President. I know what it’s like on
the frontline of psychiatry and how difficult it has become. The
current morale amongst trainees is the worst I have known it, but
as President I will ensure that they are supported and valued by
There is still so much stigma surrounding the profession.
When I decided to enter the specialty, I was told by the professor
that I worked for that I could do something better.
Psychiatry is an incredibly rewarding and important
profession, and we must work hard to challenge the negative views
that still exist.
I also understand how hard it is for all clinicians working
in a culture where a sick child can be sent to a hospital miles
from their home and where allocated resources only too often do not
reach their intended destination.
I will work tirelessly with colleagues, politicians and
other stakeholders to address these issues and to ensure that we
have the resources to allow us to provide the care and treatment
which our patients need and deserve.”
Chief Executive Paul Rees said: “I have very much enjoyed
working with our President Professor Sir Simon Wessely, who has
been an inspirational leader for the profession for the past three
However, I congratulate Wendy on winning what was a keenly
fought election to replace him, and I very much look forward to
working with her to promote the voice of psychiatry and the needs
of service users.”
Sir Simon, who was elected in 2014, said: “It has been an
honour to serve the College as President over the last three years.
Huge congratulations to Wendy on being elected. I hope she will
love it as much as I have."
More about the President-elect
Wendy Burn grew up in a medical family and always knew she
wanted to be a doctor.
Her interest in psychiatry developed during her time spent as a
houseman on a medical ward.
An early psychiatric placement was with the elderly and she
found herself drawn towards this group.
Dr Burn said: “I loved getting to know my patients, and
hearing the fascinating stories of their lives.”
Dr Burn became a consultant old age psychiatrist in Leeds in
1990 and now works fulltime in a community post. Her main clinical
interest is dementia.
She has held a regional leadership role in this area from 2011
and was co-clinical Lead for dementia for Yorkshire and the Humber
Strategic Clinical Network between 2013 and 2016.
She also sits on national groups for the planning of dementia
Wendy has been heavily involved in postgraduate training since
starting as a consultant and has held many roles in education,
including setting up the Yorkshire School of Psychiatry and
becoming the first Head of School.
She was a senior organiser of clinical examinations at the
College, deputy convenor, regional co-ordinator for continuing
professional development and the deputy lead for national
She co-chairs the Gatsby Wellcome Neuroscience Project, aimed at
reworking the core training curriculum for psychiatry trainees.
From 2011 to 2016 Wendy was College Dean.