Dr Lade Smith CBE has been elected as the next President of the RCPsych, in a ballot which saw a turnout of 39.4% – the highest turnout in a College Presidential election since at least 1996.
On first preference votes, Lade secured 42.8% (2,720) of the vote, whereas the other two candidates Dr Kate Lovett won 30.9% (1,963), and Professor Russell Razzaque won 26.4% (1,678).
When Russell was eliminated and the second preferences of those who placed him as their first choice were included, in a second round, Lade won 54.1% (3,443), while Kate won 39.7% (2,526). Meanwhile, 6.2% (392) of the electorate were members who had voted for Russell as their first choice but expressed no second preference.
Lade will become the 18th President of the RCPsych and will replace current President Dr Adrian James when he demits office on 11 July, at the College AGM, which is being held during the RCPsych International Congress in Liverpool.
Lade is a consultant psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and an academic at King’s College London.
She is also an RCPsych Presidential Lead for Race and Equality and Clinical and Strategic Director with the College’s National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH).
Lade will be the College’s first Black President and the fifth woman at the helm.
“I am thrilled to have been elected as the new President of the RCPsych, especially on such a high turnout.
“As RCPsych President, I will nurture and support psychiatrists – so we can retain and strengthen our workforce
“I will address the treatment gap – and fight for resources to deliver therapeutic care.
“I will also ensure fairness for all – and tackle inequality for patients and for staff.
“I would like to thank Kate and Russell for fighting such excellent campaigns and ensuring that this was a fair and thorough election. They definitely stretched me and it was good to get to know them better.
“Thank you to all those members who voted, whether for me or for one of the other candidates. I will work tirelessly to represent the whole membership.”
President Dr Adrian James said:
“I am absolutely delighted for Lade and the College. She will be a visionary and high-profile leader for the profession, who will ensure we are the voice of psychiatry and enable us to shape the debate around the future of mental health services.
“I am also thrilled that she will be our first ever Black President and our fifth woman leader.
“I would also like to thank Kate and Russell for running such excellent campaigns. They would both have made fantastic Presidents and I wish them the very best of luck with whatever they decide to do next with their careers. The College was very lucky to have three such fantastic candidates.”
Chief Executive Paul Rees MBE said:
“I would like to congratulate Lade for winning the College’s Presidential election. She will be an excellent leader of the speciality and we are very lucky to have her in this role.
“Like Adrian, I am delighted that she will be our first Black and fifth female President.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Kate and Russell, who both ran thoughtful and energetic campaigns. They brought so much to this election – and the College is all the stronger for having them as two of our leading members.
“I am thrilled by the incredible turnout for the election. This was our biggest participation rate for a quarter of a century – which is amazing when the turnouts in professional membership bodies have been falling over recent years, and it is common for turnouts to be under 20%.”
Voting in the RCPsych Presidential election opened on 14 December and closed at midday today.