And then there were 9: Election fever grips U.K. radiology

By Philip Ward, staff writer

January 11, 2022 -- Nine candidates are standing in this month's election for the presidency of the U.K. Royal College of Radiologists (RCR). The contest is already causing quite a stir on social media.

"Blimey! 9 candidates for RCR president. Unparalleled," columnist Dr. Paul McCoubrie posted on Twitter on 7 January, when the full list of candidates was revealed.

The nine candidates in alphabetical order
The nine candidates in alphabetical order. Each candidate must submit a statement about why she or he wants the post, and most of them also post a video of up to two minutes. Image courtesy of the RCR.

The three-year term of office begins on 1 September 2022. The president leads the RCR and is its primary spokesperson, but the post is voluntary and unpaid.

"This is a very important period for the College, there is a realisation centrally that both faculties (clinical radiology and oncology) are key to delivering safe, efficient patient centred care," said candidate Prof. Mark Callaway. "We need to lead this work nationally in both radiology and oncology but continuing to support and include all fellows."

The president is elected by the U.K. fellows in good standing of both faculties, and the role rotates such that every third appointment is a clinical oncologist. The current president, Dr. Jeanette Dickson, is an oncologist, meaning that radiologists are set to dominate at the top of the RCR for the next six years.

"Who will work to abolish the pension tax?" Dr. Sapna Puppala, an endovascular specialist from Leeds, asked on Twitter.

"The college is a charity, not a union, but it absolutely has a duty to lobby (both in public and in private) against things which are exacerbating the workforce crisis -- like punitive and complicated pension tax rules," replied candidate Dr. David Little.

Each candidate should give a more detailed summary of their thoughts, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve, according to radiologist and health IT consultant Dr. Rizwan Malik.

Not every RCR member gets to vote

Another area of concern is that only U.K.-based fellows of the RCR can vote. Some observers would like candidates to consider changing this in future so that younger radiologists and trainees can also participate.

"There are restrictions on overseas fellows as well," Callaway said. "If we are to be truly inclusive, the system of appointment requires review."

The process is being organized by Civica Election Services (formerly Electoral Reform Services), a London-based provider of election services with more than 100 years of experience in managing elections voting.

The nine candidates standing are Prof. Mark Callaway, Dr. Katharine Halliday, Dr. Stephen Harden, Dr. David Little, Dr. Elizabeth Loney, Dr. Robin Proctor, Dr. Ronny Sandhu, Dr. Raman Uberoi, and Dr. Ian Zealley.

The new RCR president for 2022-2025 will be in charge of advancing the science and practice of radiology and oncology, furthering public education, and setting appropriate professional standards of practice.

For full details about the candidates and the voting process, go to the RCR website. You can also learn more about the role and responsibilities of the RCR president.

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