Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) announced today that Dr. Sarah Clarke will be stepping down as president after a challenging period for the college. Dr. Clarke will formally resign in September following a transition period.

Dr. Clarke has served the RCP in various capacities, including clinical vice president and past president of the British Cardiovascular Society. During her presidency, she oversaw the launch of valuable resources like “Medical Care: Driving Change” and secured significant political achievements, such as the NHS England Long Term Workforce Plan.

Dr. Clarke actively engaged with RCP members, conducting regional visits and supporting initiatives for early career doctors and women in medicine. She also commissioned an independent review of events surrounding an extraordinary general meeting in March 2024.

Recently, five senior memebers of the RCP called for Dr Clarke to leave her post. Fearing that Dr. Clarke had “lost the confidence of the RCP membership” and the consequent harm to the college, they voiced their concerns in an open letter calling for her resignation.

The letter claimed that this is a crucial time and the college needs a leader who can “advocate fiercely for physicians.” It is signed by notable individuals such as vice president for education and training Dr. Mumtaz Patel and RCP treasurer Professor Simon Bowman.

This follows an extraordinary general meeting of the RCP to debate the issue of physician associates, which saw the RCP adopt a policy of a limit in the pace and scale of the roll-out of physician associates.

While the announcement doesn’t specify the reasons behind Dr. Clarke’s departure, it comes amidst ongoing debates within the RCP regarding physician associates (PAs).

The Faculty of Physician Associates, which is hosted by the Royal College of Physicians, is also facing a crisis of leadership after the resignation of several board members earlier this month.

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