September always feels like a time of refresh. It’s the month when thousands of new medical students in the UK begin their journey into the world of healthcare and, for many of the rest of us, it brings renewed focus – and often additional work! At the Royal Society of Medicine, September marks the transition from one academic year to the next and, for me as Dean of Education, it’s great to see all the plans rolling into place.
Our brilliant Section volunteers and dedicated RSM staff have developed an exciting, varied and relevant education programme for 2023/24. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to browse the programme. My sincere thanks to everybody who has contributed to putting it together.
There are several big questions in and around healthcare that need consideration this year including the future of the NHS, how we address workforce challenges, the role and regulation of artificial intelligence, and the pressing need to narrow health inequalities. It’s great to see that the RSM will be at the centre of these important discussions in the coming year. In fact, only this week, our Surgery Section has been holding a two-day event exploring several important issues including how we support whistleblowing in the NHS. This was of course brought into sharp focus this summer by the coverage of the events surrounding the Letby case. Next week we have the third instalment of our popular Spotlight on Long Covid series, followed by a headline event in November on NHS workforce planning and the next Tackling Inequalities conference in the new year.
We also have a fantastic programme of events run by our specialist Sections. These are vital to supporting educational needs within specific areas of clinical interest, as well as catalysing cross-specialty debate. From anaesthesia to urology, our programme not only covers the latest medical advancements but also delves into essential subjects such as patient care innovations and ethical considerations in healthcare practices. Additionally, our collaborative discussions on the ever-evolving healthcare landscape will provide a platform for you to engage with fellow members and share invaluable insights. Next week, our General Practice and Primary Healthcare Section is holding its essential annual update for practitioners. Held over three days, the packed agenda includes a number of excellent speakers, including Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation.
You can view all upcoming events on the RSM website, and emails will alert you to your registered areas of interest. Please take a moment to log into your account on our website, to make sure your areas of interest and contact details are up to date.
Like many charities and medical societies, we are reviewing our approach to financial sustainability in the wake of the pandemic. One of our approaches is to explore new activities and funding streams. Some of these are already bearing fruit, such as our new Partner Symposium initiative, which gives carefully chosen organisations the opportunity to co-create educational events with the RSM. The first took place in August and there are three others planned for the coming months.
We also need to make sure that we attract and represent members from right across the spectrum of age, career stage, specialty, location, ethnicity and more. I am very pleased, therefore, that we have built on activity from last year and are attending a number of student freshers fairs in the coming weeks. Students have so much to offer our Society. I know that one of the things they value is being able to interact with people from across healthcare from day one. I’m sure you will make any new joiners feel very welcome.
Part of the future is ensuring that our central London home at 1 Wimpole Street reflects exactly what we stand for as an organisation. We are rightly proud of our heritage but we want our whole membership in 2023 to feel at home whenever they walk through our doors. We are taking a careful look at the imagery throughout the building, for example, to better marry our rich heritage with the modern-day RSM.
One of the catalysts for the RSM’s remarkable endurance over more than two centuries has been its ability to modernise and adapt. We are still here precisely because we don’t stand still. As I approach my second year as Dean and think ahead to becoming the next President, I’m sure I feel this just as keenly as all those who have come before me. I believe that the RSM will have a vibrant future, in which we not only survive but thrive.