With an upcoming election to choose my successor and three new Trustees and all eyes on the future, I’ve been reflecting recently on the modern-day RSM’s beginnings.
The merging of so many disparate medical societies more than a century ago was a bold move and it must have taken an incredible, collective force of will to make it happen and keep it together. Finding consensus among that many doctors would not have been easy! But not only did it work, the RSM has gone from strength to strength, becoming a vital organisation for a wide range of healthcare professionals.
We have a much better understanding these days of just how interconnected healthcare is and needs to be. An organisation that offers deep learning across 55 specialties, while coalescing around a common purpose of better healthcare for better lives, is invaluable to the modern healthcare professional. With major societal challenges, such as inequalities and climate change, impacting human health more than ever, this need to bring people and ideas together to have conversations that matter is only going to grow.
Thankfully, the RSM’s convening power is such that we often only need to ask and people will agree to participate. In the past year, we have hosted all four of the UK’s Chief Medical Officers and, just a couple of weeks ago, the Government's Chief Scientific Advisor. This is on top of the countless academic and clinical experts, charities, health leaders and patient advocates who contribute to our education programme. If you can make it, I encourage you to book your free place on the 2023 Dangoor Lecture, on 19 April, in which Dr Axel Heitmueller will explore the future of the NHS.
The RSM has an excellent reputation as a trusted voice and this is echoed by the conversations I had with new members at a recent reception we held for these colleagues, many of whom told me they have been drawn into our orbit within the past couple of years. Many were personally encouraged to join by existing members, which is great to hear after a tough couple of years financially for the charity. We're doing something right if you, our members, are recommending us.
A bigger RSM with more members benefits us all: better connections, more interesting events, extra investment in our education, and greater representation across the breadth of healthcare. So, thank you if you have recommended the RSM and please do continue to talk to your colleagues, friends and others in your network about us. I look forward to meeting more of you at future events or when you use our club facilities.
Our greatly valued sections are the beating heart of the RSM – and they frequently need new blood. If you want to play a greater role in the RSM, contributing to the running of a section is a great place to start. Section councils have many formal and informal roles. You can find out more about these by selecting the relevant section on the RSM website and following the instructions. This is an exciting time for our sections as they, alongside central staff teams, innovate by digitising more of their educational output, thus broadening their reach. Please do consider applying to join a section council.
The learned societies all those years ago were clearly persuaded they were stronger together, and that the RSM would become much more than the sum of its parts. History has more than proven them right and, interestingly, this remains the RSM’s greatest strength.
Not everybody wants to be President or join a section council but there is a simpler way you can strengthen the RSM: use your member benefits. Book an event, be that online or in person, come into the club for a drink or meal, stay in the hotel, access the library, browse the many member discounts or use our extensive digital resources. Wherever you are in the world and whatever you value as a member, we are a society for all. Every time you interact with us, you help us to ensure the RSM can continue to survive and flourish for another 200 years.