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Professor Dame Sue Bailey

DBE FRCPsych

Chair of The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Professor Dame Sue Bailey was born in a northern mill town and was grammar school educated as a result of a scholarship. She comes from a long line of women whom she describes as being more intelligent than herself, but whose circumstances, even if they passed the exam to get into grammar school, meant that they could either not afford to go, or had to look after the family. Her initial ambition was to read history and politics at university.

Sue was brought up in a nurturing but ‘working class’ family and lived opposite a medical superintendent of what would then have been the local county asylum. She started visiting and getting involved, and became fascinated with the world of psychiatry and mental health. Although her family moved to Watford, London, Sue wanted to go back north and got into the University of Manchester Medical School. She qualified in 1973 and had already decided on a career in psychiatry, which she describes as her best career move. Influenced by two wonderful psychiatrists, a child psychiatrist and a forensic psychiatrist, whose beliefs were about being able to help people in the most difficult of positions, Sue developed an interest in young people who have committed crimes or are at risk of doing so. She was appointed a Consultant Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatrist in the early 1980s in Greater Manchester and appeared as an expert witness in the James Bulger murder trial. “Right time, right place, supportive mentors (all male) and blessed with always having worked as part of excellent multidisciplinary teams, both clinical and academic, have enabled me to develop, deliver and evaluate child and adolescent forensic mental health services locally, nationally and internationally,” she says. Sue was appointed Professor of Child Mental Health at the University of Central Lancashire and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Surrey in 2002. Sue has held many senior positions at the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) including Chair of the Child and Adolescent Faculty for four years, and Registrar. In 2002, Sue was awarded an OBE for services to youth justice. In 2011, she was elected President of the RCPsych, and until this time had kept a relatively low profile because the children she worked with were mainly young offenders who had committed serious acts of violence to others. During her time as President, she worked with health and social care professionals, patients and carers to help bring about Parity of Esteem between mental and physical health which is now enshrined in Primary Legislation in England, in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This is her proudest achievement. Sue is Senior Clinical Advisor for Mental Health and Learning Disability for Health Education England and took up the position of Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in 2015. Sue

has always believed in the importance of family and describes her role at the Academy as a wider family. “Working for Heath Education England matters a great deal to me because the NHS is its workforce. I have always worked in collaboration with the voluntary sector and advocate strongly for shared decision making with patients,” she says. Sue was honoured with a DBE for services to psychiatry and voluntary service to people with mental health conditions in 2014. * Favourite Song: Bohemian Rhapsody * Three objects Sue cannot live without: Garden Fork, Microwave, Blackberry

Sue’s advice to junior doctors is “Always listen to the disease of your patient.”

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Medical Woman | Spring 2017

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...