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The green shoots of spring | a new president | 6 goals for urgent care

Spring is a time to be joyous, thanks to the warmer weather, trees covered with blossom, lambs gambolling in the fields and a plethora of wildflowers. It’s a time of renewal, regeneration and celebration.

As is tradition, the result of the RCP presidential election was announced on the first Monday following Palm Sunday. Last week, we candidates accepted the silver shilling and awaited the outcome of the six-month journey we had taken together. It was a rigorous process and I must say we were all on edge. Each one of the candidates would have been an excellent president. By now you will know that Professor David Oliver was elected, and on behalf of the RCP Cymru Wales team, I have congratulated him and invited him to visit us in Wales. I am also delighted to welcome both Dr Hilary Williams onto RCP Council and Dr Melanie Nana as the new chair of the RCP Trainee Committee.

The spring also brings several bank holidays, leading to a nightmare for unscheduled care, but I was recently encouraged to meet with Dr Jo Mower, the national clinical director for urgent and emergency care, to discuss the Welsh government’s new policy handbook, 6 goals for urgent and emergency care. The launch event on 27 April is open to all – register in English neu yn Gymraeg!

The expansion of medical school places is key to the future sustainability of the medical workforce. I recently met with Professors Steve Riley, head of the school of medicine in Cardiff and Kamila Hawthorne, head of graduate entry for medicine in Swansea. They provided some real insight into the growth in medical school places in Wales over the coming five years, and we discussed the opportunities and challenges for the Welsh NHS, especially around clinical placements.

It looks as though the number of medical school places in Wales should increase by around 50% in the next five years, which is excellent news. We now need to do all we can to ensure those medical students stay in Wales to experience the highest quality postgraduate training after they graduate. Initiatives like the RCP Chief Registrar Programme provide protected time for clinical leadership and quality improvement to doctors working at ST4 level and above. Find out if your NHS organisation is taking part this year.

I’m excited to say that the RCP regional poster competition has returned! Prizes include a free virtual place at the RCP's annual conference in 2023, inclusion in a digital digest, and an award certificate. All posters will be considered for publication in one of our peer-reviewed journals. Abstracts should be submitted by Sunday 12 June 2022.

Speaking of conferences, have you booked your space at the Wales Update in medicine yet? I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing many of you in person. We are finalising the programme and securing speakers – book your study leave today! We will be at the Marriott Hotel Cardiff on 24 November from 9am–5pm with your first chance to meet the new president, Professor David Oliver, and ask him questions during the open forum with college officers. Don’t miss it!

We last held a Wales members and fellows ceremony as part of the RCP500 celebrations in 2018; it was a beautiful event. This year’s ceremony will take place the day before the Update in medicine and promises to be a fabulous celebration of the RCP Cymru Wales family. If you are a new member (or know colleagues who have recently passed their MRCP) or a fellow and have not attended a ceremony in London, please contact the team for more information.

Finally, as COVID-19 restrictions ease and the world reopens, we are restarting our face-to-face membership engagement, kicking things off in north Wales on 10 June with our first Cyswllt RCP Connect regional event of 2022. Join us in person at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, or via Teams – contact the team for more information. Later this year, we’ll be visiting west Wales – details to follow.

I will be enjoying a short Easter break with the tradition of planting potatoes on Good Friday! Whatever you do, take care of yourself and stay safe.

Dr Olwen Williams OBE
RCP vice president for Wales

Consultant in sexual health and HIV medicine