I'm excited to begin 2019 as President of this growing and dynamic society.
Our plans for 2019 have been informed by the views of our members gained through our membership survey, insight from our committees and staff, and feedback from our conferences and other meetings. As always our focus will be on supporting ALL of our members to provide the best possible care to their patients.
We have identified three key themes for 2019 to help focus the work that we do this year:
Using data to drive quality improvement
Promoting rheumatology as a career
Providing age appropriate care
The National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit is the most comprehensive audit to date, paving the way for improved patient care. The first audit had a wide ranging impact, including improvements to patient care, reconfiguration of services, support for increased staffing and questions asked in parliament. We’re delighted with the massive support you have shown for the second audit and look forward to the initial report later this year that we hope will do even more to raise interest and awareness of what needs to be done to improve care.
We are also allocating more resources to deliver regional audits to provide members with evidence of the impact of their service and enable quality improvement. Building on all this data, our guidelines work and peer review, we are investing in an accreditation project that we will start to pilot this year. This will provide a quality mark for services and put rheumatology services at the forefront of the move for specialist services to be benchmarked in this way;
We are investing significantly in our educational programme, improving our conferences and eLearning, expanding our course programme and new fellowships to help all our members. A special focus in 2019 will be on bringing new people into the speciality by providing more information and events to champion rheumatology and encourage students and trainees to choose to work in this rewarding specialty.
We are also doubling our investment in research this year to address priorities identified by our members. Please help us to shape our vision by responding to our forthcoming survey or by getting in touch directly with firstname.lastname@example.org.
New member benefits in 2019 include more bursaries for trainees and health professionals and a new journal club that will meet regularly to critically evaluate recent articles in academic literature, using the breadth of our current membership.
Becoming truly multi-professional over the last few years has been an important step for the society. This year we will continue to work hard to support our members in providing age appropriate care by offering more support and education to cover the issues around transition, ensuring that we provide up-to-date guidance for paediatric and adolescent care and preparing our first joint guideline on idiopathic inflammatory myopathy. Our factsheet on developmentally appropriate care is the first step in this process, and we shall be working with colleagues over the coming months to produce our first paediatric rheumatology State of Play report.
We cannot do all this important work without your support. Alongside my fellow trustees, I will continue to make sure the society uses our investments wisely, to secure the future of the society in the long-term.
Finally, don’t forget that as a benefit of membership, you can make substantial savings on the society's Annual Conference. The biggest savings can be made during the early-bird offer which is open until early March. We look forward to seeing you at the conference.