Dr Adrian James 

2019 Presidential candidates

My vision

Psychiatry is the best, most stimulating and rewarding speciality. 

If elected I will prioritise:

1. Equity between physical and mental health

2. Recruitment, retention and workforce wellbeing. 

3. Championing diversity. 

My video statement

My supporting statement

Ddarllen y datganiad hwn yn Gymraeg

I went into psychiatry because it is the best, most intellectually stimulating and rewarding speciality. As Registrar of the College since 2015, leading on Policy and Communications, I have been working alongside many others to raise the inequalities and stigma faced by people living with mental illness. Campaigners have made a huge difference and I welcome the transformation in public and political awareness of the importance of mental health. But that support and understanding has yet to be matched by a fair distribution of funding. It is vital that psychiatrists have the resources, time and support to meet rising expectations, care for their patients to the highest standards and enjoy their work.

I was the first in my extended family to attend medical school. They were proud, but then surprised and negative about my choice of specialty, in spite of a significant family history of mental illness. That negativity is also reflected within the medical profession. The College’s successful ‘Choose Psychiatry ' campaign has challenged this and significantly improved recruitment. But we have further to go.

If elected I will prioritise

1. Equity between physical and mental health

Equity must extend to both clinical services and research and this is my first priority. I know what is needed and as Registrar I have  campaigning experience . I will develop a plan (money, workforce, models of working, timescales) to achieve true parity which must be inclusive of all specialties.


Current: Front-line clinician for 33 years.

Extensive media experience (Today programme, National TV news, national newspapers) in advocating for mental health issues.

Married to an MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of Health Select Committee

Former: College roles including Regional Advisor and Chair : South West Division, 20 years liaising with front line colleagues

Commissioning adviser (Clinical Director for Mental Health & Dementia: South West) Medical Director of my trust.

Political experience as Chair of the RCPsych Westminster Parliamentary Committee, developing  constructive  dialogue with Ministers and MPs across the political spectrum.

2. Recruitment, retention and workforce wellbeing

Recruitment is improving but this needs sustained effort and we need to go further on retention: wellbeing is intrinsic to this. Psychiatrists are under great stress and need better resources and support to function fully and effectively.


Current: Core trainer & member of Choose Psychiatry Committee, established Associate Registrars for Wellbeing and Retention, Member Engagement and Sustainability.

Former: Head of School of Psychiatry, South West Deanery, Chair Workforce Wellbeing Committee of College.

3. Championing diversity and the needs of those who are marginalised, in relation to patients and the psychiatric profession


Current: I helped develop our College Values and have championed these, honoured to be made a Friend of the British Indian Psychiatric Association. Highlighted equality & diversity issues representing the College on the MHA review and mental health strategy meetings.

Former: Chair of Mental Health Alliance South West: a collaboration between users & professionals

I would be honoured if you voted for me to advocate for psychiatry as President of your College.