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A new decade, a new Vice President

New RCP Vice President for Wales Dr Olwen Williams OBE sets out her vision for 2020 and beyond.

It is truly an honour to begin my term as RCP Vice President for Wales and I look forward to working on behalf of our 1,300 Welsh members on a range of priorities.

I begin by extending a very warm thank you to my predecessor, Dr Gareth Llewelyn, who has led our work in Wales with distinction over the past three years. Under Gareth’s leadership the RCP has increasingly recognised our Welsh identity, particularly by adopting ‘RCP Cymru’. We have published five reports in three years and hosted 18 major events and activities across Wales. Gareth has brought much valued enthusiasm to our work and I am eager to pick up the baton from him.

Throughout my career I have focussed on tackling the key issues of the day and have been driven by my strong commitment to equality and diversity. As a consultant physician in genitourinary and HIV medicine, my clinical work has involved those on the ‘margins’ of healthcare. I have always tried to make sure vulnerable people have access to high quality health care. That is why I believe that we must prioritise equality and diversity in all our work and should embrace the Future Generations Act in Wales.

I truly believe that we must use our full weight to support our workforce in Wales and make us all feel valued enough to remain in the NHS. I am committed to making sure we foster leadership and wellbeing throughout the physician's career; I fully support the Chief Registrar model and will do what I can to make sure it goes from strength to strength.

As a North Wales resident, I recognise that there are different issues at play throughout our Welsh regions and I plan to understand these nuances. I relish the opportunity to work across all RCP regions on behalf of our members. I plan to strengthen our links with the RCP Quality Improvement hub based in RCP North in Liverpool, make sure there is a representative from each Health Board in Wales on the QI faculty, and coordinate work with Improvement Cymru.

We face significant challenges in Wales, especially if you factor in the political uncertainties. Areas such as the medical workforce, guaranteeing high-quality patient care and addressing health inequalities are key priorities for RCP Cymru.

It is therefore vital that we influence decision makers and next year’s Senedd elections provide us with a great opportunity to do so. We have published our calls for the next Welsh government and are asking them to:

  • empower patients and clinicians to lead NHS organisational and workforce change
  • increase the number of medical students and postgraduate doctors in Wales
  • deliver on their commitment to prioritise the health and wellbeing of the NHS workforce
  • protect frontline medical research when the UK leaves the EU
  • introduce a Clean Air Act, invest in specialist obesity services and address health inequalities.

I look forward to engaging with our Assembly members and other key stakeholders to make sure these priority areas are addressed.

If ‘medicine is brilliant’ – and I think it is! – then we need a proactive, responsive and respected organisation like the RCP to support our members in these uncertain times. I know that as the RCP Vice President for Wales I am uniquely placed to influence and shape the Welsh Government’s ‘National Clinical Plan for Wales,’ and I look forward to doing just that.

Again, it is a real privilege to serve as RCP Vice President for Wales and I look forward to meeting and working with many of you over the next three years.


Dr Olwen Williams