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Patrick O'Brien FRCOG

Statement for Vice Presidential election 2019

Patrick O'Brien thumbnailBy the time the new President and his team take over, we will be safely installed in our new home. The physical move has been a huge task, and its successful completion a credit to the current Officers and staff. But we must still win the hearts and minds of our membership, many of whom feel a strong bond to Sussex Place.

Until now, the College has been on the back foot, explaining the financial imperative that forced the move. But now it’s time to move forward with optimism and enthusiasm. We have a wonderful new home; very different in character to our current building, admittedly, but no less exciting and full of potential.

Much has been done over the past few years to improve engagement with the membership. But the question ‘what does the College do for me?’ is still heard too often. I believe that addressing this lack of engagement is a priority for the new President and team. We must get out there and listen to what more the membership expect of us.

None of us can escape the current NHS staffing crisis, not least in our specialty, and there is little to suggest improvement any time soon. Mary Ann Lumsden has  performed a Herculean task getting to grips with our workforce - numbers, grades, etc. The huge contribution of SAS doctors is now much better appreciated. The new team must use these powerful data to pressurise government into addressing this staffing crisis that adversely affects women’s health and the health and morale of our colleagues. The newly announced £1.8billion will only plug a few leaks in 20 fortunate Trusts.

I apologise for dragging the B-word into this particular election! But if a no-deal Brexit materialises, it will have a major impact on our service. 5.5% (65,000) of NHS staff are EU nationals; 13.1% (153,000) are non-British. Their future in a post-Brexit era is far from certain. Moreover, Brexit is likely to create overnight shortages of essential supplies, lasting many months. I have assisted Eddie Morris with his recent work with government, identifying likely areas of shortage and potential alternative lines of supply. If Brexit becomes a reality on Halloween, dealing with the fallout is likely to be a major challenge for the College.

I believe I can bring a blend of essential skills and experience to this role. I am a clinician in a busy unit, regularly rolling up my sleeves (above the elbow). I have a strong track record in leadership. For   example, for 4 years I was Clinical Director of a Division with 700 staff and an annual turnover of £100 million, and won the CEOs award for Leading CD. I have chaired the CRN Portfolio Board at UCLH.

I have contributed to the College’s work for many years, actively participating in working parties and workshops since 2007, a Council member since 2014, and media spokesperson since 2008. I would love the opportunity to make a difference in these very challenging but exciting times.


CV – Patrick O'Brien (PDF 355kb)


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