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RCP vice president for Wales: As the nights get longer

RCP Vice president for Wales Dr Olwen Williams gives an update on our work in Wales as we head into the winter months.

Autumn is upon us: the days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing colour and we are all anticipating what sort of winter we will experience. What measures will be in place to mitigate against the challenges of ‘winter pressures’ in a COVID-19 pandemic and will they suffice? When will a vaccine be available? Will the public comply with the restrictions placed upon them? While we would love to have a crystal ball, we don’t have the answers to these questions. What we know is that our knowledge of COVID-19 is vastly different to what it was 6 months ago. We have therapeutic interventions that improve outcomes for the seriously ill COVID-19 patient. We understand the need for appropriate PPE and now have improved supply. We have moved to a ‘new’ normal but many things have changed. So, as the nights are getting longer, we need to remain optimistic, support each other and continue to provide safe care. You may be interested in reading the recent Welsh Government publications on rehabilitation and care homes

Within the executive team at RCP Wales, there have been some changes. We welcome Dr Justyna Witczak who was recently elected as our New Consultants Committee representative. Justyna takes over from Dr Andrew Lansdown and they will both be at our New Consultants forum on Tuesday 13 October. I would like to personally thank Andrew for his immense contribution during his tenure.

Dr David Price will be stepping down as regional adviser for south-west Wales from October. David has consistently contributed to RCP work over the past 6 years and has personally provided support for me, which is greatly appreciated. I am looking forward to welcoming a new regional adviser for south-west Wales to our team. We also have a new chief registrar, Dr Julia Scaife.

Derin Adebiyi, who has been covering Lowri Jackson (our head of policy and campaigns), leaves us in early October when Lowri returns from her maternity leave. We wish Derin all of the best in his future ventures. Sadly, as we continue to meet virtually, we are unable to say ‘goodbye’ in person, so we raise a virtual glass to our colleagues.

In light of most of our learning being virtual, our Wales Turner-Warwick lecture will be on the RCP digital platform. Keep a look out for some interesting and informative talks on RCP Player.

While the summer months are usually times for relaxation and reflection, college work has been ongoing. I have chaired joint meetings on the medical workforce with the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges Wales (AMRCW), General Medical Council (GMC) and HEIW; contributed to the RCP Advisory Group on Health Inequalities; facilitated a workshop for the Bevan Commission on care homes; and attended the Welsh Government Tobacco Control Strategic Board along with presenting a talk on seniors and sex at the British Geriatric Society’s Improving Continence Care in Older People 2020 group conference!

In the forthcoming weeks, I will be meeting with politicians in advance of the forthcoming election, the Welsh Government Unscheduled Care Team to discuss the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and HEIW regarding workforce strategy, as well as planning our RCP president’s virtual visit to Wales in December. I will keep you updated and continue to represent your interests as RCP Wales members.

Stay safe.