Equally Well UK, a collaboration working towards equal physical health for people with a severe mental illness, is delighted to announce Prof Wendy Burn as the new Chair of its Clinical Group.

Wendy became a consultant old age psychiatrist in Leeds in 1990 and now works part time in a community post. She has been involved in the organisation and delivery of postgraduate training since she started as a consultant. She set up the Yorkshire School of Psychiatry and was the first Head of School.

She was Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists with responsibility for training and education from 2011 to 2016. In 2017 she was elected as President of the College; this role is until July 2020.

Wendy said “I am very pleased to be taking on this role. Too many people with serious mental illness have poor physical health and don’t get the right help to manage their problems, resulting in shortened lives. Equally Well has been set up to change this and I’m really looking forward to using my experience both as a frontline clinician and as a medical leader to help address these issues.”

Equally Well UK is a collaboration between Centre for Mental Health, Rethink Mental Illness, a Clinical Group whose members include representatives from Medical Royal Colleges, Royal Societies and other healthcare professional bodies, and more than 50 member organisations across the UK. All Equally Well member organisations have signed the Charter for Equal Health and committed to improving physical health support for people with a mental illness.

Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health said “We are delighted to welcome Prof Wendy Burn as the new Chair of the Equally Well Clinical Group. Wendy’s expertise, experience and commitment to mental health equality will give Equally Well UK an outstanding clinical leader at this crucial time for the physical health of people living with severe mental illness.

“We are extremely grateful to Dr Irene Cormac and Dr Alan Cohen for their leadership of the Clinical Group since Equally Well began in 2018. With their knowledge and skill we have already seen significant changes in the way physical health is supported in mental health services. Equally Well UK will continue to strive for equal health for people with a mental illness, bringing together experts by experience and by profession with organisations working across the country to make a difference.”