At an extraordinary general meeting on Thursday evening members of the Faculty of Clinical Informatics (FCI) passed a motion of no confidence in the leadership of the Board of Trustees and narrowly passed a motion calling for the removal of Bill Morgan.
The votes of no confidence were the culmination of a simmering crisis at FCI, that has raised questions about the future of the organisation founded to provide the professional body for clinical informatics.
A further motion, calling for changes to the FCI constitution to require the Trustee Board chair be an elected member of the faculty, thereby ensuring they must be a clinician, failed to get past the 75% threshold required.
The EGM was triggered by a petition organised by a group of disaffected members alarmed at leadership, culture and policy decisions that had seen the FCI spend all its reserves over a 12-month period of expansion, during which the prospects of £500,000 in annual grant funding from NHS England receded. https://www.digitalhealth.net/2023/07/fci-founding-fellow-warns-clinical-informatics-body-faces-insolvency/
The votes were taken during a chaotic four-hour Zoom meeting, which at times risked descending into farce as the hard-pressed volunteer organisers valiantly battled with the technology. The main petitioner was left unable to join the meeting and his petitions had to be read out by former chair Prof Jonathan Kay.
Passions ran high as the motions were debated, demonstrating the depth of divisions within the FCI, and culminating in the vote of no confidence and motion to remove the Chair of Trustees.
Some of the exchanges became acrimonious, with allegations variously made including bullying; complaints of the arrogance of doctor members; accusations that rules on the appointment of trustees had been disregarded; and suggestions that members had been kept in the dark on the state of the finances. https://www.digitalhealth.net/2023/07/fci-described-as-a-greek-tragedy/
The vote to remove the chair of trustees required a two-thirds majority and was extremely narrowly won.
Having brought matters to a head and voted down the Board of Trustees and Chair of Trustees the FCI now faces major challenges to rebuild, with its AGM due in September.
Declaration of interest – The author was one of three independent invigilators asked to oversee the voting at the EGM