Dr Sarah Clarke has been announced as the 122nd president of the RCP, following an extraordinary meeting of RCP Council on Thursday 21 July.
The extraordinary meeting was convened for Council members to discuss the presidential succession, following the withdrawal of Professor David Oliver as president elect last week.
Relevant elements of the RCP bye-laws and a number of options were reviewed at the meeting. This included considering the result of the election with Professor Oliver withdrawn from the ballot, which was recalculated by the RCP’s independent election partner – Civica Election Services – and validated by them as an approach. This process highlighted Dr Sarah Clarke as the winning candidate with 1,303 votes, ahead of the next-placed candidate with 1,115.
There was a consensus view within Council that following the recalculation of the voting Dr Sarah Clarke was the preferred candidate of the fellowship and should assume the role in September for the 4-year term. Dr Clarke accepted this decision and will be welcomed to the College as PRCP on 13 September.
Current RCP president Sir Andrew Goddard said: ‘I was very sad when David withdrew from the role of president but am grateful that the election process allowed us to elect Sarah with a clear mandate from the fellowship. The RCP Council strongly supports her election and we are delighted to have her at the helm of the college over what are likely to be very challenging times.’
Dr Sarah Clarke, a consultant cardiologist at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridge, RCP clinical vice president and past president of the British Cardiovascular Society, said: ‘I was delighted to receive the call to serve as president. It is a huge privilege to be the president of the RCP and I want to thank the fellowship and Council who have put their faith in me and will be by my side as we navigate the challenging times ahead for our profession. I also want to thank my colleagues at Royal Papworth Hospital, the wider NHS, and my friends and family for their never-ending support over many years which has enabled me to get to this position.
‘The RCP has found itself in a unique situation with this election. I have the utmost respect for my colleague and friend David Oliver, who has put his health and wellbeing first in making a difficult decision to step down from the presidency. I will be doing this for both of us.’
Professor David Oliver, a consultant in geriatrics and general internal medicine, a former clinical vice president of the RCP and past president of the British Geriatrics Society, said: ‘Following my decision to withdraw from the RCP presidency on health grounds, I am delighted to hear that Sarah has been chosen to replace me. Sarah and I were in the same year at medical school. She succeeded me as RCP clinical vice president and, like me, she has been the president of her own specialist society and taken on a range of other national clinical leadership roles. She has the skills, experience and credibility to be a fantastic president and she will be only the fourth female president in over 500 years. As 40% of RCP members and fellows are women (and rising) – I really welcome Sarah as PRCP and wish her well.’
RCP Council is the focus for dealing with all issues that affect the professional activity of its membership, including matters relating to the college’s purpose, policy and guidance relating to clinical standards; examinations, education and training; professional issues such as professionalism and revalidation; election of fellows; college membership; external relationships; engagement with fellows and members; appropriate international work; and any other matters relevant to the practice of medicine and provision of medical care. In reaching its consensus view, 24 Council members were present at the extraordinary meeting plus other Council attendees. Council accepted the recalculation of the voting, which highlighted that Dr Sarah Clarke was the preferred candidate of the fellowship and should assume the role of RCP president in September 2022 for the 4-year term.