Unity, Growth, Support: FSEM Strategy Six Months On

By Dr Chris Tomlinson, Vice President, 5 Sep, 2022 | 6 min read

An update on progress towards our strategic goals from Vice President Dr Chris Tomlinson
Six months ago, we unveiled our new Strategy and set forth a series of ambitious goals that we felt were important to continue to grow our specialty and also address the priorities you, our members and fellows, demanded. We’ve been working steadily towards those aims ever since but, like the proverbial iceberg, much of that work has gone on beneath the surface and out of sight. I’m pleased to have this opportunity to bring you up to date on everything we’ve been doing.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen recently has been in relation to the success of our Diploma in MSK Medicine exam, and the more than 100 new Diplomate Members we have welcomed to our ranks as a result. Having a thriving multidisciplinary membership is vital to our goal of developing FSEM as a collaborative organisation capable of representing the specialty and the entire MSK workforce, and we are delighted to have them on board.

Another major workstream with the potential for big change is our ongoing discussion with BASEM over the future of the specialty and the potential for forming a college of SEM. We recently told you about the first meetings of our joint working groups, and will bring you news of further developments as they happen. We expect the consultation process will conclude towards the end of 2022. Following this, both BASEM and FSEM will be setting out recommendations for the future for debate and a final membership vote.

Another piece of collaborative work we are excited to share is the BASEM and FSEM Emerging Leaders Programme. This is an innovative Multi-Professional Leadership Programme developed by the RCP specifically for FSEM and BASEM. It is aimed at ambitious emerging leaders within the Sport and Exercise Medicine community who wish to develop their leadership skills and roles and drive forward their specialty. It will provide personalised development and mentorship alongside leadership theory and training to support the SEM leaders of the future. The course will be running from Jan 2023 so look out for further updates coming soon.

We’re also pleased to announce the formation of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee, led by Honorary Secretary Pria Krishnasamy. The values of equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to everyone involved in healthcare. At the Faculty, we firmly believe that we can and must do more to make a difference in this area and we’d encourage anyone interested in making a contribution to get in touch.

I believe it is important to reiterate that all the work we do at the Faculty is driven by our incredible members, who volunteer their time as Council members, as committee chairs, as examiners or question writers, and in many other ways. We need volunteers interested in contributing to the development of the organisation, the specialty and the sector as a whole. If this sounds like you, please get in touch. We’re bound to have a role that will suit you.

Now, let me give you a run-down of the exciting work we’ve been involved in across a few key areas:


We’ve been involved in ongoing work on accreditation for GPs with an Extended Role (GPwER) in MSK Medicine. Much of this work is being led by our Clinical Lead for Diplomate Members, Dr Giles Hazan, who is also co-chair of the NHS MSK group. It has already led to the creation of a career pathway and standardised curriculum for GPwERs, and continues in collaboration with organisations like the Primary Care Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Medicine Society (PCRMM), the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP) and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) as we look for ways to better support clinicians to access quality education. We’ve also been working closely with NHS England on credentialling and workforce planning, and we’ll have more to share with you on that in the coming months.

As part of our new Strategy, we reaffirmed our overarching mission to improve the health of the nation through physical activity. Nowhere is this commitment more apparent than in the continued success of our Moving Medicine initiative. This year has seen the creation of more location-specific resources, the development of 4 new modules and updates of all of our existing adult modules. Our team, led by Cath Lester and Lacey Anning, have worked tirelessly to achieve this. Our expanding international partnerships are testament to the ongoing quality of the work of our huge team of contributors.

As a further commitment, we are in the process of developing a diploma examination in Exercise Medicine that will allow clinicians to demonstrate their competence – in much the same way as our current diploma does for MSK care. This work is being led by long-time Moving Medicine collaborator and Faculty Council Member Dr Chris Speers, and we hope to have the exam ready to go before the end of the year.

Team Care
It has become clear over the past few years that there is a requirement for additional support for clinicians who provide care for sports teams at all levels of competition. We have been fortunate in being able to draw on the experiences of our members, many of whom work with sports teams, in helping to determine how best the Faculty can play a role.

Based on your feedback, we’ve commissioned and completed an external review of working practices in team care and will present the results and recommendations in the next few months. This, in conjunction with your suggestions, will help us identify areas where further support is necessary and direct our efforts to address these issues. Partnerships with Sports Governing bodies and government will be essential to continue to drive this work forwards with the aim of better supporting doctors, and the wider multi-disciplinary team, throughout their careers in sports medicine.

One priority area we have already identified is education, and to help with that we plan to develop a further diploma examination in ethics and governance in team care. As with our Exercise Medicine diploma, this will also help us achieve our goal of expanding our multidisciplinary membership and make us better able to represent the entire SEM and MSK workforce.

The keen-eyed among you may have noticed the synergy between our work in exercise medicine and team care, and the GPwER accreditation work I mentioned earlier. This is not accidental, and it is our long-term ambition to ensure that there is an accreditation pathway for GPs working in these areas as well.

While reflecting on the many exciting projects currently underway, I believe it is important to recognise that a lot of the work we’re doing now is only possible because of determined efforts put in by many people, over many years. If it hadn’t been for our past presidents, past council members and many others, our current rapid progress would not have been possible. I would like to express my thanks for the efforts of previous administrations, members of council, and the many Members and Fellows whose vision and drive have brought us this far. I would especially like to thank Kirsty Baird, our head of Faculty, and the office team, Lacey, Ian, Siobhan and Shona who have worked tirelessly and uncomplainingly over the last months and years to help us deliver our ambitious programme of work.

And we need your support to keep going. Everything we achieve at the Faculty comes as a result of the hard work and dedication of our members. We need volunteers to help shape the future of your specialty, so please get in touch and get involved. We want to hear from everyone, including our new Diplomate Members. There are many different ways to contribute, from taking part in question writing sessions once or twice a year, to joining one of our committees or working groups, or even standing for office. However you want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact us at enquries@fsem.ac.uk

Dr Chris Tomlinson BM BS, MSc (SEM), FFSEM(UK)

Vice President