Welcome to 2018. No doubt your New Year resolutions have been finely sculpted in your mind and your body is already beginning to see the benefits!
Last year was by any stretch an incredible year in which to profile the great work of our specialty and to help us to ‘look up’ a little more and the great work that goes on despite the incredible pressures in an ever changing and resource constrained world. We celebrated the birth of our specialty so well with a range of events and gathered just some of the giants of our specialty together at Octavia House on 12 October 2017 on the 50th anniversary!
We also managed to drive some excellent policy initiatives through as part of RCEM Vision2020 and we hope that many of these will begin to bear fruit later this year – especially related to workforce planning over which we have the greatest control. We and those who have collaborated with us will be rightly judged as the year progresses.
The beginning of the year allows me to peer forward for us as a College and I thought I would highlight some of the areas that I am keen for us to progress and show that we can not only deliver well but have very significant and impactful change for our patients and our teams. So here are my top 10 for the year:
- Staffing – We will continue to work hard and provide you with regular updates on progress with the new workforce strategy for England that we launched on Oct 12th. Equally we will let you know how we get on in the other countries.
- Valuing staff & maximizing retention – A key part of the strategy this year will be to address the satisfaction & sustainability agenda. We also need to face up to an undercurrent being recorded in the NHS of ‘bullying and harrassment’ which certain staff groups are flagging up. The ED is an area which is the epitome of team but being human and trying to cope with at times intolerable system pressures can affect people badly. I am keen we find ways to help showcase systems that have fought through that to create and maintain the right culture and values so others can learn.
- System design – Much has been made in 2017 of NHS England’s decision to mandate GP streaming at the front door and the lack of engagement & collaboration that that initiative involved at launch. This has been sensibly addressed by many systems by working collaboratively with their commissioners and Executive teams to create the most cost effective solutions. We will showcase this even more in 2018. The College has been giving advice on co-location models for well over a decade and as primary care systems increasingly fail there is an added need to get this right.
- Measuring quality – Better understanding of the responsibilities between system performance and the quality of care delivered in ED will be another hot topic in 2018. We are keen to work with relevant stakeholders to make sure we can describe better models that track care delivery to better outcomes.
- Emergency physician productivity – this is an area that is hugely complex and yet so important if we are to provide better guidance on the value for money of an EP in the Emergency Dept. We will be developing a consultation soon to better understand models of practice and then provide a better College position going forward.
- Profiling practice – The recent development of various special interest groups that I mentioned last month will no doubt build further momentum this year and we look forward to progress in these important areas. We also hope to provide better guidance in terms of how we collaborate in the areas of advanced airway management.
- International work – We are keen as mentioned last year to provide a much more comprehensive international strategy and we hope to launch a new approach early this year that will connect the work of our international education committee as well as our Global Health EM committee.
- Showcasing success – The RCEM Annual Awards were a real success in 2017 and we hope that they will go from strength to strength. In addition, we have done great work with the CQC in England and hope to expand that further profiling the work of EDs that is innovative, cost effective and impactful.
- Engagement and adding value to membership – We will be carrying out another comprehensive membership survey very soon and are keen to understand how we can improve the services that we provide to you as well as finding out things that we should perhaps add in the future. Please do contribute.
- Communicating well – Finally, as ever communicating what we are doing is vital. A number of you fed back to me in 2017 on finding ways to do this better. We will be trying out some new initiatives but keen to get feedback on other things we should be doing.
So, good luck in delivering on those New Year resolutions. I hope we can progress on all of the above and more in the year ahead on your behalf!
Dr Taj Hassan