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Medicine 2021 day 2: Good morning physicians

Opening day 2 of Medicine 2021, RCP academic vice president Cheng-Hock Toh chaired a discussion with guests Sir Michael Marmot, Dame Donna Kinnair, Dame Jane Dacre, William van’t Hoff and Stephen Holgate.

The session was themed around inequalities. Professor Sir Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of Health Equity at University College London, outlined the key findings from his report Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On. Recognising that life expectancy for those on the lowest incomes is now falling, he called for doctors to become advocates for their patients on matters of inequality, and the need to ‘put equity of health and wellbeing at the heart of government policy’.

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive officer and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, highlighted that the issue is made more difficult by the lack of reliable data, particularly in regard to patients from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. She also reflected on the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these inequalities have been illustrated, noting that 39 of the 40 patients in one ward she worked in were from the BAME community during the first wave of the pandemic.

The discussion then widened, and then featured:

  • Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council clinical professor of immunopharmacology, and RCP special adviser on air quality, summarising the importance of physicians educating themselves and advocating for patients on the often neglected issue of air pollution
  • Dr William van't Hoff, chief executive officer of NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre, emphasising the benefit of research, and that research active trusts lead to better outcomes for patients
  • Professor Dame Jane Dacre, professor of medical education, University College London, explaining her work on the gender pay gap in healthcare, which far exceeds the gap seen in other parts of the public sector.

Inspired to find out more? Our annual conference is virtual this year and you can sign up to Medicine 2021 to watch the full presentation.

We’ve extended on-demand access to all conference content until the end of April 2021. You can gain up to 16 CPD points until 7 February 2021. Thereafter you will be able to self-accredit as independent learning.