President’s Blog September 2014

September – children back to school and for those of us juggling family and work life, the sense of a ‘return to normal’.

Next week will be the Annual Scientific Conference and AGM held in Exeter, the very heart of the West Country and only 30 miles south of Taunton, the regional centre! This year we will be running parallel streams, a reflection of both the breadth and depth of EM in the UK and Ireland. For the first time there will be specific recreational activities including paddle boarding, kayaking and mountain biking. I am looking forward to hearing any number of exaggerated exploits at the dinner on the same evening!

At the College we have been particularly busy in the last few weeks. We have had meetings with health team members of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. The meeting we were to have with the labour team was postponed as they were granted a parliamentary debate on health for the same day, and will now be rescheduled for early September.

We also had an excellent meeting with the President and CEO of RoSPA and we are planning a number of joint initiatives to highlight avoidable harm in the next few months.

The links between EM and the armed forces continue to be relevant and important and I met recently with Colonel Russell to discuss ways of increasing the mutual benefit derived from this alliance. Of interest, and perhaps some consolation, it appears that the College is not the only one to have a less than complete database of members interests and activities. Thus in the near future we will be inviting all fellows and members to update their entries on line and include details of whether they are members of the reserve forces.

As president I have been invited to a good number of social events. Like many of you I struggle to keep weight on so I seldom decline the chance of a meal or finger buffet; and so it was I found myself at a drinks reception in Downing Street! This was an invitation to 150 Clinical Leaders, and it rapidly became clear that this was not a cohort with which I had ordinarily been associated. I recognised just three people! The Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Health and Norman Williams president of the RCS!

Our document ‘Acute and Emergency Care – prescribing the remedy’ was published in July and jointly endorsed by the RCS, RCP and RCPCH. This is the first time such a powerful alliance has published a series of recommendations about unplanned care. We will be co-hosting fringe events at all theĀ  party conferences to emphasise the importance of the 13 recommendations in delivering an acute care system that is not an annual exercise in crisis management.

A key aspect of EM, though for too long neglected, is the issue of patient flow. Clearly exit block is a daily challenge for many departments and will be the subject of an Autumn campaign by the College. However there is much that can be done to improve intra-departmental processes and this was wonderfully demonstrated at the recent Cambridge international meeting ‘Building the Best ED’ . The speakers and delegates included EM specialists, architects, flow engineers and designers. The opportunities for collaboration are considerable. The proceedings will be published this Autumn and should be required reading for all those who are leading our departments.

Following our AGM in Exeter we will be welcoming Kevin Reynard as Vice-President and Jason Long as Dean. We will be saying goodbye and thank you to Taj Hassan whose term of office has finished. Taj has been a stalwart over the last 3 years and in particular has co-ordinated much of the sustainability work programme. We were fortunate to have 4 candidates for the VP role this time and had to introduce a system of single transferable voting! Each of the College Officer roles has a fixed 3 year term and I would encourage all Fellows to consider standing; there is a considerable workload but also great professional satisfaction to be derived from these roles.

Finally I would like to highlight a forthcoming edition of the British Journal of Hospital Medicine. This will be solely focussed on EM and contain a series of commissioned articles written by College Officers and other Fellows. It will provide data and detail supporting the position of the College in the areas of tariff reform, exit block, sustainable careers, ED casemix and working with the GMC. This opportunity to contribute to a themed issue of a peer reviewed journal is uncommon and will allow us to ‘cite the evidence’ adding further impact to our arguments.

I trust you have had a good summer holiday, the next 6 months will be challenging but no one can say that the College has failed to address the issues, to argue the case and be there to hold others to account. We will maintain this momentum and deliver the CEM10!

Dr Cliff Mann FCEM FRCP
The College of Emergency Medicine