In my update last month I mentioned how I felt we were all getting back to school after the summer – well we’re well truly into the autumn term now and I’m getting stuck into my homework, course work as well as doing some legwork.
And I have to admit it felt a little bit like I was being summoned to the headmaster’s office at the start of the month when I was invited to the latest ‘Health Summit’ at Downing Street – especially after my ‘Iceberg warning’ in the summer.
I was, along with representatives from other leading health organisations, able to update the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary about our concerns about the winter ahead, as well as offering solutions to some of those issues. Our advocacy is getting us into the room.
So much for a winter crisis, it has become a perma-crisis.
The following week we marked World Patient Safety Day.
We know how dangerous crowding is for our patients, but we want to raise awareness about it to the public and policy makers.
So we asked for your help by sharing your experiences or crowding and other issues you have encountered at work – and you did not let us down.
I see crowding when I go to work in my ED.
But seeing so many of you from across the UK sharing similar horror stories of patients experiencing excessive waits; clinicians having to treat patients in the back of ambulances when there really is no room at the inn; having to play trolley Tetris and highlighting the emotional toll it takes on you having to work is such challenging situations was soul-destroying.
I can talk about the issues until the cows come home, but to have so many real-life testimonies to share with the public and politicians really gets the message across.
You can’t argue with lived experience, and we are very grateful to all of you who took the time to get in touch.
Having demonstrated the issues, we then moved on to focus on solutions.
Our General Election Manifesto: #ResuscitateEmergencyCare is what we think whoever forms the next government should commit to in order to improve the situation for clinicians and patients.
We have highlighted five areas where urgent action is needed.
You can find out much more on the #ResuscitateEmergencyCare pages of our website.
To launch the Manifesto we focused on the extremely long waits some patients have experienced.
24 hours in A+E? It’s no longer just a TV show – it’s the shameful reality of hundreds of thousands of people every year – almost 400,000 to be precise.
We also published an animation, specifically designed to raise public awareness, which has been widely shared. (If you haven’t already, please do so!)
The manifesto formed a large part of my President’s speech at our Annual Scientific Conference which was held in Glasgow last week.
The ASC was glorious, there were sessions on topics as diverse as REBOA, migrant health, frailty, consent, AI and smoking cessation.
Catching up with old friends and making new ones as well as being able to attend some exemplary presentations and sessions. Seeing the next generation presenting really did reassure me that the future of our specialty is in excellent hands.
Huge congratulations to all who took part and to the RCEM Events team for hosting such an enjoyable and successful event.
Now my focus moves on to the Political Party Conferences. Even more important this year as we move fully into the pre-election phase.
I have a packed schedule at both the Conservative and Labour conferences where I will be working hard to influence for positive change for the benefit RCEM’s members and patients.
I am particularly looking forward to a panel event next Sunday (8 October) which we are hosting with the British Geriatric Society and Parkinsons UK looking at the issue of older people in the ED.
Another cohort of people who make up a large percentage of ED attendees is those who are experiencing mental health crisis and we will be partnering with Mind the mental health charity later this month to highlight this issue.
Outside of work many of you know I enjoy keeping fit – but I have to say that I am not sure I am quite up to running a half marathon!
Which is one of the reasons I was so impressed to hear of Dr Luke Iddon who is running the Royal Parks half Marathon for RCEM this weekend – here are his sponsorship details if you are interested.
Also this month is SAS Week – which takes place from 9 – 16 October when we celebrate our fabulous Specialist and Speciality doctor colleagues – so keep an eye out for that.
It’s also World Mental Health Day on 10 October – so do check out the resources available, and make sure you are not sacrificing your own health while caring for others.
Bit of a mammoth update from me this month.
Does anyone know when it’s half term?
Adrian Boyle, President, Royal College of Emergency Medicine