Welcome to 2018 from Dr Peter Lanyon, President
As we start the new year, I want you to know about the key activities we are looking forward to in 2018, linked to our strategy to support members to deliver the best possible care. To ensure we do the best we can for you, our members, we will be seeking your views to help shape and expand our activities – please make the most of your membership and get involved!
Annual Conference in Liverpool
Planning for our annual celebration of the best of rheumatology science and clinical practice is well underway, with early-bird bookings now open. In addition to keynote rheumatologists and healthcare professionals, I’m delighted that our speakers include Dr James Palmer, Medical Director Specialised Services at NHS England, addressing 'Service development in challenging times’ during the opening plenary session.
Showcasing Best Practice
Visiting the Best Practice Awards shortlisted sites, we’ve been impressed by the quality and commitment of these paediatric, adolescent and adult rheumatology services. Now in their third year, this time we will be providing even greater resources to support members across the UK to replicate best practice. Further details will be at Conference, where we will showcase the winning applications.
Demonstrating the value of rheumatology care
In April, we will launch the new National Inflammatory Arthritis Audit, which we secured the contract to deliver. For the first time, this will provide rheumatology teams throughout England and Wales with real-time information about their care and outcomes. The audit is currently being piloted, and there will be regular updates to members and unit clinical leads starting soon.
Supporting improvements in service delivery
NHS Improvement is extending its key clinical programme, Getting it Right First Time, to include rheumatology. This will be underpinned by the clinical interpretation of rheumatology-specific analytics from across the whole NHS, and is likely to be of pivotal importance for our specialty. We will therefore be working closely to support the programme’s clinical leads. This will also link to our goal of introducing a Service Accreditation scheme, which will kitemark high-quality care, and further raise the profile of the work of rheumatology teams.
Providing education for our members
Our new education strategy (based on research last year listening to members’ needs) is guiding expansion of our activities, and we will be implementing new and improved learning opportunities for our full range of members. One of the first developments will be a new ultrasound training programme, underpinned by principles agreed by our Ultrasound Special Interest Group. New travelling fellowships, founded on sharing expertise more widely amongst members, are proving very popular, including our rare disease (scleroderma) fellowship. Further clinical fellowships, and in peer review methodology, will open later this year.
Promoting new knowledge
Our registers continue to provide valuable data, including biosimilars, and we must thank all members contributing to this important resource. We own this data, which is available to members, on request. We are working to raise greater awareness of this resource, including collating publications of academic outputs, making resource available to support recruitment and launching a new PsA register. We also intend to extend online access to Rheumatology to our health professional members for the first time.
So it’s been a busy and positive start to this year, my last as President of our society, which continues to grow both in numbers and in the impact it’s making for the profession. We greatly value all our members, and the Board of Trustees, our Committees, and staff will be working hard throughout 2018 on activities to support you to deliver the best possible care. I am very pleased to say that 2017 was a very successful year for us, both in terms of our society activities and financial position. As a result, the Board is seeking to ensure that we appropriately use our resources for our members’ benefit. We are therefore launching a membership survey in the next few weeks to help guide our future work and I would like to encourage everyone to respond.
And if you would like to help shape the future work of our society, and rheumatology, in a greater way, please consider joining one of our committees or working groups. Several opportunities will arise from April, so we will let you know more information about these positions in the coming months.
I hope to see as many of you as possible in Liverpool, where there will be updates on all of the above. In the interim, please keep an eye on the website and future newsletters for further developments.
With best wishes for a happy and successful 2018.