rcpch autumn news
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DESCRIPTIONReading is to the mind what exercise is to the body Sir Richard Steele I believe the PCAG has an important role to play. Our aims are: • to promote the participation of patients and carers • to facilitate their access to information about their health care • to inform and advise Council of the public perspective of paediatrics and child health.
6In memory of June Lloyd
10Seeing things differently
13Child protection,paediatricians and thecourts new trainingprogramme
12BPSU 20th Anniversary
RCPCH Vision and Values document enclosedAn outline of College activities today and strategies for the future.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Reading is to the mind what exercise is tothe body Sir Richard Steele
They say that doctors make the worst patients.So when I discovered I had high bloodpressure, I took the only possible course ofaction; I totally ignored the problem andcontinued doing the very things that hadprobably precipitated it in the first place.Eventually, when denial and avoidance failed,I was taken in hand by the College President,who duly dispatched me to consult my GPand join a health club.
I had a hazy concept of where and howto find the GP surgery, but a health club?! It was my brother-in-law who helpfullysuggested I should join Holmes Place in MillHill. My emphatic claims that there was noHolmes Place in Mill Hill evaporated when ittranspired that the very large building rightnext door to the Waitrose where I shop everyweek was indeed Holmes Place.
Selective blinkers are a great way ofavoiding seeing the things that are under ournoses and maybe the College falls into thatbracket. The building at Hallam Street, the staffand the officers make up a component of theCollegebut ultimately, the College is themembership. The expertise of that membershipis incalculable, and it must be seen and heard.My concern as I write this column is that werenot tapping into that expertise effectively.Currently we are asked to respond to abouttwo consultations per week, to provide inputinto national working parties, and to advise onlocal service issues. The majority of ourresponses and advice come from a tinyminority of our 9,000 strong membership. If our advice is to be valid, we need to formaliseand extend our base of respondents. To thisend, we are proposing to establish a CollegeConsultation Panel and we need as many ofyou as possible to sign up.
How can I join the College Consultation Panel?Please use the form enclosed in this mailingpack. Further copies can be downloaded fromwww.rcpch.ac.uk/publications/recentpublications/consultationpanel.pdf This will giveus a cohort of people who are available torespond to consultations, give advice and/or tojoin short-life working groups. By telling us yourparticular interests and expertise, we can make
sure we use your knowledge to best effect.
What is the commitment?We would like you to stay on the panel for aminimum of one year but like the gym youcan, of course, make a lifetime commitment.For each year you are a member, we will askyou to respond to 2-3 consultations or to joinone working group. In total, we are asking fora minimum commitment of 3 days per year,although wed be delighted if you want to domore. We will, of course, continue to consultsome people who are not on the panel, butwill have a more formalised relationship withthose who are signed up.
Whats in it for me?I know that many of you will be happy tocontribute to this work without expecting anyparticular incentive. Nonetheless, it is nowcrucial that peoples work is acknowledgedand evidenced - and we will be supplyingregular documentation of your contributions,which you will be able to put in yourappraisal folder. This will also support ACCEAapplications which are dependent ondemonstrating work which is over and abovenormal commitments. Much of what we areasking of you will also have CPD value, andwe are planning to provide CPD certificationof relevant work.
When Pat told me to join a gym, I hoped thatthe pain of paying out the membership feeswas enough proof that Id heeded aPresidential instruction. I now find that to getsome positive health gain, I actually have togo there and work up a sweat. The same istrue of College membership fees; the joining isnot enough. We will only get maximum healthgain for children if more people go there but unlike the gym you can do it from thecomfort of your own home. So Im off to thegym right now. And you know what? Imactually enjoying it!
Hilary CassRCPCH REGISTRAR
From the Registrar
5PCAG: listening to others
6June Lloyd obituary
7Good practice for healthprofessionals
10Seeing things differently
11Trial of osteopathy forchildren with Cerebral Palsy
13Child Protection and the courts
14Trainees Committee report
From the EditorsWith this issue of the RCPCH News, we begin theprocess of a gradual transformation of the newsletterinto a real connecting medium. To this end, we havechanged the format to enable a more interestingpresentation of issues of relevance to children andyoung people.
RCPCH as the professional organisation ofpaediatricians, has a major role to play in bothstrategic practical aspects involving healthcare forchidren and young people. In a supplement withthe current issue, Patricia Hamilton, RCPCHPresident, outlines a practical action plan for theCollege during the course of next three yearsYour comments on the document, and any otheritems of this issue, are most welcome.
In the next issue to be published in mid-December, we intend to focus on the issue ofchildhood obesity, so watch this space!
Rashmin Tamhne, Graham Sleight, Joanne Ball.
In the newsAutumn 2006
I was talking to a 9 year old the other dayand asked her if she had any pets. Shereplied rather ruefully that she did not. Shetold me she had asked her parents if shecould have a gerbil but they said she couldnot. Some time later she asked if she couldhave a cat and again they said no. Later stillshe asked for a dog, but this too wasrefused. What Im working on now sheconfided is a horse.
It is perhaps this spirit of hope overexperience that paediatricians will recognise.We have been asking for a better resourcedservice for many years. We had hoped thatthe national service frameworks in our fournations would result in changes but theserecommendations have not been resourcedor given the priority that is needed. Therecent Healthcare Commission reportshowed that whilst many hospitals areproviding good services under difficultcircumstances many were still marked asweak. There were particular difficulties inproviding child-friendly facilities in the A&Edepartments and there were also shortfalls inoutpatient services.
This is disappointing but not surprising.We have been drawing attention to theincreased stresses on paediatric A&Edepartments and in particular the rise inattendances due to changes in primary careand to parental expectations. Attendanceshave been matched by an increased numberof admissions. Hence we are having todevote a lot of our personnel and resourcesto the acute sector whilst plannedattendances both in and out of hospitalinevitably suffer. We have highlighted this tothe politicians we meet and are about to beinvolved in a pilot for practice basedcommissioning and in an initiative on urgentcare services.
If regulation is to mean anything then theresults of the Healthcare Commissionsreport ought to result in Chief Executives oftrusts being obliged to put their houses inorder. We will be pushing the Department ofHealth for this but local paediatriciansshould take their copy of the report andwave it at their trust board.
The Donaldson report Good doctors, saferpatients has recently been released. This haswide implications and I have sent out an
email asking for your response. There ispotentially a strong role for Colleges inproviding ways in which doctors canrecertify or credential their skills in theirspecialty. In theory we would support theimportance of doctors demonstrating theirability to continue to practise but howshould this be done and what are thepenalties for failing to do this? How do wedefine an acceptable level of performance?Is it fair that a doctors livelihood shoulddepend on a civil rather than a criminalbalance of certainty? What warning shouldbe given that a doctors performance is notup to scratch and needs improvement? Ournext Council meeting will be dedicated todebating this so please make sure yourrepresentative knows your views.
Speaking of Council meetings, I havebeen going to some regional meetings and more are planned thank you to thosehow have invited me. I am somewhathumbled by the general view that CollegeCouncil meetings can be boring. Im trying to think of ways of being creative and having a debate on a substantial topicsuch as the Donaldson report in theafternoon is one of them. We do havestatutory business to conduct, and this must take priority.
One example of an item guaranteed tohave people suddenly have to leave toanswer their mobile phones is the budget.But this is crucial. In these changing dayswe have to think of how our statutoryfunctions which are the ones for which wereceive considerable funding - are changingor indeed whether we will have anystatutory function at all in future. We willalways have a crucial role in settingstandards for service and education but thefinancial implications of for example thePMETB are considerable and we have to beaware of this.
You will find attached in this edition ofthe newsletter a copy of my vision for thefuture. This is a personal vision of how Iwould like things to be different for childrenand for paediatricians as a result of theColleges activities over the next three years.We have traditionally always had a budgetand workplan which relate to a strategy butwe have not articulated our vision and
values. The vision will determine thestrategy and workplan that the College, itsofficers and committees will follow toachieve our aims. My