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RCP vice president for Wales: My first 100 days

Dr Olwen Williams shares her thoughts on her first term as RCP vice president for Wales. 

In a similar way to the US presidency, the term of the RCP vice president (VP) for Wales also starts in January. Ever since the 32nd US president Franklin D Roosevelt coined the term in 1933, the impact of the first 100 days has taken on great significance.

Fortunately for me, I am not dealing with the Great Depression. There are, however, significant challenges for our health system in Wales. These include COVID-19, ensuring that the health system is protected in the Brexit negotiations and the relentless pressures on unscheduled and scheduled care in Wales.

My first 100 days have been very busy. I have spent them familiarising myself with the role, meeting stakeholders and establishing a dynamic working relationship with officers as well as the RCP Cymru team. I loved doing the interview for Commentary and was delighted to see the contributions of other Wales members.

Merging my role as an elected councillor on RCP Council with the VP role has allowed me to have an in-depth insight into the RCP’s aims, values and policy for the future. It has also allowed me to identify how these areas impact on Wales and consequently how RCP Cymru can develop its unique profile.

Recently, I have attended two urgent unscheduled care summits called by the NHS Wales director general, in which I highlighted the pressing issues around recruitment into all medical specialties at both consultant and training grades.

Meeting members is an essential part of the role and I had the opportunity to do so at the This doctor can … work flexibly meeting in Cardiff. It was great to discuss less-than-full-time (LTFT) training and working, something we all have a right to. As someone who has recently moved to an LTFT annualised flexible contract, I was interested to learn of other people’s experiences.

We have numerous consultations that we respond to in Wales and it is important that you give us your opinion – it does not matter how brief, or whether in writing or a call to Derin. Your opinion matters to us and I urge you to help our policy team respond to the consultations listed below by feeding back to the team. Designing an NHS in Wales in which we all want to deliver excellent care involves getting involved!

So, you can now judge me on my impact to date, or to quote Obama ‘… but it’s probably going to be the first 1,000 days that makes the difference’.