January Round-Up

President Dr Natasha Jones presents a summary of some of the key projects going on behind the scenes at the faculty as we move into 2022

A belated Happy New Year to all! I hope January has been kind you. Here’s to a positive 2022 as we seem to be emerging from yet another wave of this terrible virus.

2022, so far, has seen a flurry of activity at FSEM, at executive, council and office level. I thought I might share some headlines with you.

First of all, thank you for such a superb response to our members and fellows survey. There was a refreshing diversity of opinion and ideas. There were some surprises but, broadly speaking, I was reassured to find that your priorities and concerns mirrored those of the executive. We used your voices to inform the direction of our 2022-25 strategy discussions which took place in London last week at a rare, dynamic and hugely enjoyable face to face meeting. Thank you to all those who attended.

While we will be publishing the strategy in full in the weeks to come, we agreed on three values which will guide us in our objectives. Growth, Unity and Support. Growth of our Faculty and Specialty, Unity of our voice, both internally and externally, and Support for our members and fellows, especially those working in isolation and minority groups.

I was especially pleased to welcome Eleanor, representing BASEM, to our strategy day as we work to collaborate, streamline and improve the impact of our shared priorities.

In other news, I have been getting to know our colleagues across the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in recent weeks. It has been a privilege to learn from them as they responded to the challenges of omicron. Our membership of that organization offers invaluable support, expertise and experience. Through them we have contributed to important national discussions surrounding issues which concern us all.

For example, the revamped National Clinical Excellence awards-now called the clinical impact awards- should better support women and those working less than full time for the NHS. I think this is a pivotal step forward for us. The sustainability of our specialty depends on our NHS and forces workforce; to attract the best of us, these posts will need to be attractive. As the NHS plans for recovery, opportunity in the NHS will be unprecedented for our specialty. Aside from the obvious impact we can have in MSK care and exercise medicine, we would be wise to consider our role in supporting the long-Covid and workforce wellness agenda. We must support and encourage our members and fellows in this endeavor.

The debate about Mandatory vaccination for health care staff continues. We support the approach of the AoMRC on that.

Through the AoMRC, in 2020 we will conduct a review of our processes to support doctors working in isolation, and especially in elite sport. The challenges and risks of working in this environment were highlighted by you in the survey and have been demonstrated repetitively through events to date. I look forward to a productive, positive and informative outcome of that review.

Finally, I wanted to thank our superb team at FSEM central. The retirement of Yvonne was an anxious time for all but under the wonderful leadership of Kirsty; Siobhan, Lacey, Ian and Shona continue to work above and beyond to support you and our specialty. A new Presidency must bring its challenges, so thank you for your patience and endless willingness.

Dr Natasha Jones
President, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine