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RCP vice president for Wales: Update in medicine | living through pandemics

This month, Dr Olwen Williams looks ahead to the 2021 RCP update in medicine, curated by the team in Wales for broadcast on RCP Player on 8 December.

Join us for this year’s RCP update in medicine on 8 December 2021

As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, I find myself thinking about our annual joint update in medicine. Pre-pandemic, more than 300 of us met every year in Cardiff with the Society of Physicians in Wales. Sadly, we are not able to meet in person for this year’s conference for obvious reasons. Like you, I miss the conversations, the networking and the friendly faces of my colleagues as we gather for our annual update every November. There is a lot to say about virtual conferences – in theory, you can watch it on your TV while you lounge on the sofa with coffee and cake – but that’s not usually what happens. Most of us register and book study leave – only to find that the unit is understaffed, perhaps someone is isolating – and so we relent and go to work, hoping to snatch the odd talk on our mobile. Sound familiar? Remember, CPD is an essential part of our wellbeing tool kit – don’t ignore, make the time and enjoy the stimulation of learning and connecting, albeit virtual.

However, I’m delighted to let you know that as RCP vice president for Wales, I’ve worked with our regional advisers to come up with a virtual one-day programme on 8 December 2021.

Book your space today!

And on to other news. It’s nomination time: the roles of president, clinical vice president and elected council member are up for grabs. RCP fellows will have received an e-mail alerting them about the nomination process and the roles. I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure as an elected Council member, it was rewarding and stimulating and the ability to feed the Welsh perspective into the RCP centrally was satisfying. Please consider standing – Wales needs strong representation on Council.

I never thought I’d start my medical career in a pandemic, nor did I anticipate that I’d work through a second one. It’s 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were identified. The Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026 calls on us to ‘End inequalities. End AIDS’. The global movement to reduce new HIV cases to zero by 2030 is reflected here in Wales with the launch of HIV testing week by the Fast Track Cities initiative in Cardiff on 22 November. All physicians should be comfortable in discussing HIV testing with their patients – a late diagnosis increases the risk of early mortality 8-fold

Health inequalities – key factors in both the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics – are a serious concern for the future. So – bringing my blog this month full circle – I’m really pleased that at the 2021 RCP update in medicine on 8 December, we have a whole session on health inequalities and COVID-19 alongside a talk on the future of the Welsh NHS from our chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton.

RCP update in medicine, 8 December 2021  

Designed by physicians, for physicians, we’ve secured a host of exciting speakers, including:

  • Professor Huw Morris, University College London on contact sports and dementia
  • Professor Carol Brayne, University of Cambridge on the social determinants of health
  • Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales on the future of the Welsh NHS

Other highlights will include:

  • the association between thrombosis and COVID-19
  • how the alcohol care team at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board engage service users
  • hot topics in cardiology and the advances in clinical practice.

Book your space today.

After the live stream on 8 December 2021, conference content will be available on demand until 8 March 2022. From 7 January 2022, content will still be available but CPD will not be applied. RCP members receive a discount. For more information, please contact: Wales@rcp.ac.uk.

Health inequalities (air pollution)

In the latest RCP Medicine Podcast, Dr Jenny Baverstock and Professor Stephen Holgate discuss air pollution and health. Do listen if you can!

Research into unmet financial needs of UK doctors and medical students

UCL has been commissioned by the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF) to identify the extent of unmet financial need in the medical profession. They are inviting you to complete an online 10-15 minute survey. You don’t need to have had any experience of financial difficulties to take part. On completion, you can enter a prize drawer to win one of 20 vouchers worth £25. They also want to interview doctors and medical students who are experiencing or have experienced financial difficulties due to ill-health. If you are interested, please contact k.alexander@ucl.ac.uk.

Nominations for RCP Council

Nominations have now opened for president, clinical vice president and elected councillors. The nominations period is open until 15 December 2021. To find out more, please visit our website: presidential elections | clinical vice president and councillor elections.

Doing things differently: international perspectives, 1 December, 3.30pm 

Hosted by the Bevan Commission, a panel of speakers will share perspectives from across the world on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and how countries are recovering and re-setting. What can Wales learn from others, what are the challenges and solutions moving forwards and what should be prioritised to ensure health and care systems deliver a sustainable service? Book your space today.

We will all meet up soon. Fingers crossed that we’ll be back together in Cardiff in November 2022!

Stay safe.