President’s update May

As we head towards the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer, influencing the landscape for Sport and Exercise Medicine Doctors working in the UK is top of mind. There is a shortage of Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Consultants in the NHS, something which we hope to be able to change in the future in order to help realise Government led ambitions to increase levels of physical activity.  Our specialty has a large-scale application in improving the health of the general public through exercise advice and prescription and in the prevention and management of many common diseases.

In progressing the Faculty’s strategic plan for 2014, we have been working across the spectrum to influence those who will be able to help create new Sport and Exercise Medicine posts. I am pleased to announce that key Government stakeholders, are willing to hear our message, creating a mood of cautious optimism.

To this effect, the Faculty has met with the Department of Health on a visit to the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health. We have recently had a chance to meet the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sport about SEM services in the NHS. We have also met with Health Education England to talk about the future of SEM and its application in the NHS and Mike Farrar, a Consultant for the NHS Confederation, has kindly written a foreword in our new document A Fresh Approach in Practice. We recently produced this national health service information document to inform CCGs and Health Boards in the UK about the benefits of Sport and Exercise Medicine services.

Over 260 printed copies of A Fresh Approach in Practice have now been posted out to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Health Boards across the UK. The document puts the business case, with examples, for employing SEM Consultants in MSK clinics and primary, secondary and intermediate care in the UK. This all goes towards much needed awareness in the NHS of what Sport and Exercise Medicine can do to improve services, make cost savings and add value, especially in Musculoskeletal Medicine.

In addition to our efforts at Government level, we are also looking at how we can create Educational Fellowship opportunities for SEM Doctors. A Royal College of Radiologists Educational Fellowship is in the process of final approval and we have held initial talks with the British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine about a further Fellowship.

It has been a busy year so far for the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and we hope that this co-ordinated hard work will help secure consultant posts and a bright future for Sport and Exercise Medicine in the UK.

Dr Roderick Jaques President of the FSEM (UK) 2012-2015