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Courage | GMC NTS results | Research funding

RCP vice president for Wales, Dr Olwen Williams highlights our new report on health inequalities in Wales and looks ahead to the excitement of our 2022 Wales membership ceremony which will be held in November.

As I write this, we are experiencing the highest ever recorded temperatures in Wales. This poses a potential risk to life, especially for the frail in our society, and is causing significant disruption to public services including health and social care. These pressures, which challenge our ability to maintain good health and wellbeing, come from a multitude of sources – the weather being only one; when 50 organisations come together under one cause, you know that you collectively have the courage and power to influence change.

This month, in partnership with the Welsh NHS Confederation, the RCP in Wales published Mind the gap: What’s stopping change? The cost-of-living crisis and the rise in inequalities in Wales, which calls on the Welsh government to act now on health inequalities by developing a cross-government strategy. Health inequalities is something I’m passionate about; during a live radio interview for BBC Radio Cymru, when told by the reporter that the Welsh government had invested millions over the years to tackle the issue, I could only kick back by saying: ‘So why are we still where we are now?’

I never imagined that, in the 21st century, I’d be campaigning on rising poverty and deteriorating health in Wales. Please read our report and help make a difference by raising the issues with your elected members.

I’m going to pause here and take the opportunity to invite all new members and fellows to attend the 2022 Wales membership ceremony on 23 November. As well as the formal ceremony, there will be musical entertainment and a celebratory reception. Bring your family and friends to meet colleagues and celebrate your achievements after two very difficult years. Book your space or contact Wales@rcp.ac.uk for more information. Consultants, please do circulate this opportunity to your trainees who have passed MRCP. This promises to be an event to remember!

The results of the GMC national training survey 2022 were launched on 19 July, with the RCP response published soon after. It makes interesting reading – 87% of trainees and 58% trainers in Wales completed the survey. As anticipated, there was a significant rise in burnout in both groups compared with pre-pandemic data. However, the GMC concludes that: ‘it’s testament to the hard work and commitment demonstrated by trainees, trainers, postgraduate deans and training providers that there’s much to welcome in this year’s survey results.’ I would like to express my own appreciation of the huge commitment that I’ve seen from our college tutors and associate college tutors over the past couple of years, as well as the support we have had from our head of school Dr Shaun Smale.

I was saddened to hear that David Oliver will not be taking up the presidency of the RCP in September. David has been incredibly courageous in making this decision. I wish him all the best. A process will be put in place to elect a new president and clarify interim leadership arrangements. Council has also agreed to defer the election for the next vice president for Wales until spring 2023, to bring the electoral cycle in line with other RCP senior officer elections. I have agreed to remain as vice president until the end of July 2023.

It’s also worth flagging that the system for appointing regional advisers is changing. The RCP is moving from an election to an appointment process this summer. The term of the current regional adviser for north Wales, Dr Mick Kumwenda, ends this year. Applications will be sought this month. It’s a fabulous role – a real opportunity to drive change at a national level as a key member of the RCP Cymru Wales officer team, and I’d encourage doctors in north Wales to consider applying.

Fragility fractures

The RCP has recently published a resource aimed at patients and carers for the Fracture Liaison Service Database (FLS-DB). The Patient and Carer Panel, who advise the Falls and Fragility Fracture Audit Programme (FFFAP), helped develop the resource to inform members of the public who have experienced a fragility fracture what level of care they should expect to receive based on three key findings from the FLS-DB 2022 annual report.

NHS research time awards

The NHS research time award (RTA) is open to staff in NHS Wales, or staff contracted to NHS Wales (such as doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and clinical scientists) in primary, secondary or community care or public health. The grant allows NHS staff the opportunity to apply for protected time to engage in research activity.

Don’t miss out on RCP fellowship!

Celebrate your achievements by self-proposing, or celebrate your colleagues’ achievements by proposing them, for RCP fellowship. In order to be considered for fellowship in 2022, applications must be completed and received via the Fellowship Portal by Monday 5 September 2022. More information, including guidance documents, on proposals and self-proposals can be found on the RCP website.

Turner-Warwick lectures now open for entries

Providing a sense of pride, building confidence and giving encouragement to trainees across the UK, the Turner-Warwick lecturer scheme celebrates one of the biggest groups of unsung heroes. Most trainees apply to the Turner-Warwick lecturer scheme because a senior colleague recommended it to them. Please help us support trainees by passing this message on. The deadline for submitting applications is 4 October 2022.

I hope you all have an opportunity for some well-earned rest over the summer despite the ongoing pressures – be kind to yourself and those around you.

Stay safe.

Dr Olwen Williams


Membership events

20 September 2022 | New consultants forum – Wales (virtual)

At our annual Wales New consultants forum we will be joined by Christopher Saunders, assistant secretary, BMA Cymru Wales to talk about job planning and the Wales consultant contract, while Dr Ruth Alcolado, medical director NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership will discuss ‘the bigger picture of patient safety and how you know your service is safe’. The forum is open to all new consultants in the first 5 years in post, SAS doctors and registrars in their final year of training. It is free for RCP subscribing members and offers 2 CPD credits.  Book now

24 and 25 October 2021 | Med+

Previously known as the acute and general medicine conference, Med+ will provide essential clinical updates for healthcare professionals. Join us in person at the RCP at The Spine in Liverpool or online.

23 November 2022 | Joint new member and fellow ceremony – Wales

This event is for all new members and fellows who have not attended a ceremony in London. New members and fellows will be presented with their diploma during a unique Welsh-themed celebration of their achievements. As well as the formal ceremony, there will be musical entertainment and a celebratory reception. New members can book now. New fellows should email Wales@rcp.ac.uk to receive a special link to book. Guests are welcome.

24 November 2022 | Update in medicine – Cardiff

Following our joint new member and fellow ceremony, we will hold our first face-to-face Update in medicine since November 2019. Join us in person on 24 November 2022 for an exciting programme which will cover a diverse range of topics from leading physicians across Wales.