In the latest edition of our membership magazine “College voice”, College President Professor Jackie Taylor has written an update on her work on your behalf. The full update is below, and you can now read the rest of the magazine online here.
In my first column as President in December last year I reflected on my aspiration for our institution to become the “Go-To” college. I want to use my privileged position as your President to build on the good work done by many individuals over the past few years to ensure that our worldclass efforts in education, training and support for our members is translated into greater influence in our working environment and in the wider medical community.
I’m pleased to say that in the last couple of months our college has taken some significant steps towards achieving this goal.
In May the Sturrock Review into allegations of bullying in NHS Highland highlighted what many of us unfortunately know to be true. Despite the diligent care and dedication of health care professionals, bullying behaviour within the health service still blights the working lives of many of our members. I’m pleased to have been invited to represent our College on a new working group on clinical leadership which has been established by the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport. This will explore how to positively address the issue of bullying by promoting the correct culture and leadership in our workplaces. This is an important problem for many, and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute directly to this important piece of work on your behalf.
June has also seen the establishment of four college working groups around my priorities of workforce, wellbeing, inclusivity and engagement. These groups will ensure that our College Council members and staff are working together to develop a college-wide plan to address the challenges faced by our members in each of these areas. Given the seriousness of the workforce crisis that our UK-based members currently face within the NHS, it’s clear to me that workforce shortages are currently a bigger threat to healthcare in the UK than funding challenges. I personally chaired the first meeting of the workforce group. We discussed the forthcoming UK based Physicians’ Census, which we undertake annually with the other UK physician colleges, and examined what we could do to improve the balance of time our members spend between direct clinical care and supporting professional activities. We all know that freeing up time away from direct patient care has benefits for clinicians, patients and the organisations we work for, and I hope to be able to report back on progress on this issue later in the year.
Another critical issue for College Fellows and Members is NHS consultants’ pensions. In this era of staff shortages and rota gaps, sadly I’ve heard of many stories of colleagues who have chosen to retire or leave the NHS as a result of the punitive changes to pension conditions which have been introduced over the last couple of years. It’s essential that the government acts now if we’re to retain our most experienced NHS staff within the workforce. While you can be assured that we’ll continue to raise our concerns directly with politicians and government (I have already written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer) I also hope that our College will be able to provide some practical advice to those who have been directly affected by these ill-thought-out changes. I’ll keep you posted as this issue develops over the coming weeks and months.
We’re also making significant advances in other areas. Elsewhere in this edition you’ll find more details of the new leadership development programme we’ve launched in partnership with the University of Glasgow, which is designed to help to nurture female leadership in medicine and academia. I think it’s vital that we take positive action to address the clear gender disparity that remains in our profession I’d ask all our members to encourage your female colleagues to apply. The closing date for applications is 15 August 2019 and full details are available on the College website.
Finally, our Admissions Ceremony on 5 June was a fantastic celebration of our College and the achievements of our new Fellows and Members. It was a huge personal privilege to welcome Dame Parveen Kumar to our ranks as an Honorary Fellow. Parveen is one of the leading figures in our profession worldwide and has held numerous senior positions including President of the BMA, President of the Royal Society of Medicine, and President of the Medical Women's Federation. We were also fortunate to be able to hear her thoughts on the development of our profession in her President’s Lecture on the previous evening. I’d encourage you to find time to watch the recording of this important lecture which is still available on our Facebook page. Congratulations also to our other Honorary Fellows, whose significant achievements spanned contributions to transplant surgery, medical history and biomechanics to name but three. As an international organisation which promotes excellence in medicine, our college is honoured to confirm our association with this distinguished range of medical professionals and thought leaders from around the world. It was an honour to admit these distinguished individuals to our College.
Overall it was a superb day, Glasgow even managed to conjure up some sunshine! I know how hard our staff worked to make sure that the event was a resounding success. So many of the delegates commented to me on the impressive organisation and friendly, welcoming approach, which is a fantastic balance to strike.
Everyone in the College, whether directly involved or not, worked incredibly hard to deliver this memorable occasion, and that shows what great commitment and professionalism we have amongst our support team here. I am proud of all of our College staff, and remain deeply grateful and appreciative of all their efforts.
As we press on with our work programme over the months ahead, I look forward to working with you to ensure that the full potential of our College is met.
This article is taken from the Summer edition of voice, our College membership magazine.