Desmond Kelly's decision to enter psychiatry was finally settled while dining with the late Dr William Sargant at his club. After National Service he returned to St Thomas' to do his MD and, after six months at the Maudsley Hospital spent a year at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore on a Nuffield Fellowship. His consultant career began with 10 years at St George's where, in addition to extensive teaching and committee duties, he published over 50 papers and his book Anxiety and Emotions. He then became Medical Director at Roehampton Priory Hospital.
He established links between the Priory and Charing Cross, University College London and St George's. These links with medical schools culminated in accreditation by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In 1992 he became a Visiting Professor at University College London. Dr Kelly's involvement with issues in addition to his clinical and management responsibilities have included the College's ‘Defeat Depression’ campaign. He is currently Patron of ‘The National Depression Campaign’, its successor.
It is his involvement in independent practice, however, which sets him apart. His leadership grew from Medical Directorship of a single hospital to becoming Group Medical Director of a score of hospitals throughout the UK, with a seven-fold increase in bed provision and a steady development of specialist services. During this time he became a Board Member of the parent company and was also Chairman of the group for five years.
Desmond Kelly retired this year.