We have moved!

By administrator at November 6th, 2014

The BMA Cymru Wales blog can now be found here.

Don’t forget to bookmark the new link!

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National Eye Health Week

By administrator at September 22nd, 2014

The fifth National Eye Health Week will take place 22-28 September 2014. Once again, eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK are joining together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all. Alexandra McMillan from RNIB Cymru explains more:

There are currently nearly 100,000 people in Wales who are living with sight loss and over the next 25 years the number of people with sight loss is expected to double.

Government, health services and individuals all need to do more to prevent sight loss. Half of all sight loss is preventable, with the most important thing people can do to look after their eyes is to go for regular sight tests. Yet despite sight tests being free for many people, including children, older people and those on income-related benefits, the uptake of sight tests is low: only 25 per cent of those eligible for a free sight test in Wales last year actually had one. We all have a role to play in changing how we think about sight tests. Many people think that a sight test is just about checking whether their vision needs correcting with glasses or contact lenses; we need to shift that to an understanding that a sight test is a critical part of a person’s healthcare routine, which everyone should go for every two years regardless of whether or not they’ve noticed any change in their vision. With sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma often having no symptoms, a sight test is critical to picking up the first signs of eye disease and ensuring people receive treatment at the right time, which could save their sight.

With sight loss being linked to a wide variety of other physical and mental health issues – from increased risk of falls to depression – all health professionals should have an interest in promoting eye health. This National Eye Health Week I would ask you all to think what more you and your colleagues could do to encourage your patients to go for regular sight tests –and, of course, to make sure you go for one yourself!

For more information about National Eye Health Week, and to download a range of eye health resources, please visit http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/.

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Reflections on life as a working parent, by a GP in Cardiff

By administrator at September 16th, 2014

Even whilst writing this I am wracked by that emotion all too familiar to a working parent – guilt.  Guilt for leaving this to the last minute, guilt for spending a Friday evening doing work and not doing appraisal stuff! It feels like a perpetual cycle in a no-win situation where one’s own ambitions, society’s expectations, financial pressure and family life conflict yet co-exist on a daily basis.

A classic example is knowing I will miss taking my son for his first day at Ysgol Feithrin because I arranged to attend a national meeting on that day, assuming his first day would be a Monday not a Friday (who can account for school induction procedures!!??).  Whilst I console myself with the thought that I cannot remember who took me on my first day, I also know deep down it was my mum because my dad would have been at work…The guilt is by no means relentless, as I doze off whilst writing and abandon the blogging until Saturday night.  Saturday nights blogging is postponed by a wakeful three year old with a pain in his side (could it be a UTI? Nephroblastoma? Trapped wind??).  The shorter window of opportunity serves as a spark of inspiration that focuses my mind.

I often wonder how I ever managed to get myself going before I had children?  How did I not manage to write a great work of fiction, pass loads of postrgraduate diploma’s or undertake ground-breaking research? Despite the juggling, anxiety and guilt (not to mention sheer exhaustion) I need only look at some of my patients to feel grateful that even though I work more than I would like and have less time with my children that I would want, I at least do a job I love, for decent money, with great colleagues and a sense of fulfilment.  I am not sure how you do it if you hate your job?

I have never subscribed to the view that being at home is harder than going out to work – I can never imagine being with my babies is harder than a 3 surgery day dealing with 40 patients, many with increasingly complicated needs and lives.  It is clear to me that my practice as GP has been affected and influenced by my own experience of parenthood in a very positive way and no doubt my role as a medic has a similar impact on my parenting – who else’s children can dose their own Calpol???!

Hyd yn oed wrth ysgrifennu hyn, caf fy mhoeni gan y teimlad hwnnw sy’n rhy gyfarwydd o lawer i riant sy’n gweithio – euogrwydd.     Euogrwydd am adael hyn tan y funud olaf, euogrwydd am dreulio nos Wener  yn gweithio yn lle gwneud gwerthuso! Mae’n teimlo fel cylch diddiwedd, heb obaith o ennill, lle mae’ch uchelgeisiau eich hun, disgwyliadau cymdeithas, pwysau ariannol a bywyd teuluol yn gwrthdaro – ond eto yn cydfodoli – drwy’r amser.  Enghraifft glasurol yw gwybod na fydd modd i fi  hebrwng fy mab i’w ddiwrnod cyntaf yn yr Ysgol Feithrin am fy mod wedi trefnu mynd i gyfarfod cenedlaethol y diwrnod hwnnw, ar ôl tybio taw dydd Llun fyddai ei ddiwrnod cyntaf – nid dydd Gwener.

Pwy all esbonio’r drefn ar gyfer derbyn plant newydd i’r ysgol!!??).  Er fy mod i’n cysuro fy hun â’r ffaith nad wy’n cofio pwy gymerodd fi i’r ysgol am y tro cyntaf, mae gen i syniad go lew taw Mam a wnaeth oherwydd byddai Dad wrth ei waith.  Dydy’r euogrwydd ddim yn llethol o bell ffordd, oherwydd rwy’n hepian wrth ysgrifennu ac yn rhoi’r gorau i’r blog tan nos Sadwrn.  Rhaid gohirio’r blogio nos Sadwrn am fod plentyn teirblwydd oed ar ddihun â phoen yn ei ochr (allai hyn fod yn Bledren heintiedig?  Neffroblastoma? Gwynt??)  Mae prinder amser yn tanio ysbrydoliaeth sy’n gwneud i mi ganolbwyntio.

Byddaf yn meddwl yn aml sut ar y ddaear roeddwn i’n cael f’ysgogi cyn imi gael plant?  Pam  na wnes i ysgrifennu campwaith, llwyddo i ennill pentwr o ddiplomas ôl-raddedig neu wneud ymchwil arloesol?  Er gwaethaf yr holl jyglo, poen meddwl  ac euogrwydd (heb sôn am flinder llethol) does dim ond rhaid i fi edrych ar rai o fy nghleifion i deimlo’n ddiolchgar.  Hyd yn oed os ydw i’n gweithio mwy nag yr hoffwn ei wneud a heb allu treulio digon o amser gyda fy mhlant, o leia mae gen i waith rwy’n ei hoffi, rwy’n ennill arian dechau yng nghwmni cydweithwyr gwych, ac rwy’n teimlo mod i’n cyflawni rhywbeth gwerth chweil.  Wn i ddim sut mae pobl yn gallu ymdopi os ydyn nhw’n gwneud gwaith maen nhw’n ei gasáu.

Dydw i byth wedi cytuno ei bod hi’n galetach bod gartre na mynd allan i weithio –  fedra i byth dychmygu bod treulio amser gyda fy mabanod yn galetach na diwrnod o dri sesiwn yn y feddygfa yn delio â deugain o gleifion.  Mae’n amlwg i fi fod fy ngwaith fel meddyg teulu dyn cael ei ddylanwadu mewn ffordd bositif iawn gan fy mhrofiad fy hun o fod yn rhiant.  Heb os,  mae fy ngwaith fel meddyg wedi cael dylanwad tebyg arnaf fel rhiant – plant pwy arall sy’n gallu dosio’u hunain â Calpol???!

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Listening to doctors

By drphilipbanfield at September 12th, 2014

This autumn sees some changes to Welsh Council, with some fresh members (directly elected like myself) by BMA members in Wales. The welsh ex-officio members (the Chairs of the branches of practice) come and go according to their office, but this overlap of offices also helps to build some continuity and stability. We will continue to challenge yet engage positively with Welsh Government where possible, pushing to re-establish the professionalism agenda that continues to be marginalised.

It will be hard to resist the inevitable calls for a stronger response from our members for much longer. We start the new session with imminent guidance and advice on raising concerns for doctors and medical students, with increasing evidence of shortfalls and things that frankly need putting right because they’re just not getting fixed.  But in the light of several reviews into the NHS in Wales, and the Welsh Government’s lamentable response to our independent DDRB recommendation, we conclude that doctors – and other front line clinical staff – are simply being ignored, not listened to and left feeling undervalued.  This can’t go on.

As Midwives and other health workers explore the potential for industrial action regarding their 1% pay offer, most doctors are being expected to accept no rise. At the same time politicians across the board appear entirely comfortable accepting their own independently assessed pay increases – while simultaneously denying others similarly independently determined pay awards. The insult is overt, and the double standards damning.

The message from all this is clear.  Welsh Government seems intent to push forward with scant regard to the views of those doctors struggling to meet increasing patient demands and expectations in the face of service cuts and staff shortages. The task of Welsh Council – your Council – is to be proactive in bringing about healing this service for our patients when and where we can. We know our patients and their relatives value us – you report that this is what keeps many of you going day-to-day.  The three years of this Welsh Council are arguably the most important for a generation and we face the task of rescuing the NHS in Wales with humility, but determination. Your support for us to pursue this huge ambition is much appreciated.

As ever, doctors are the solution, not the problem. If Welsh Government persists in not listening to doctors, perhaps they now need someone from outside the Principality to take an independent look at the NHS in Wales? I’d love to hear your views.

 

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World Suicide Prevention Day #WSPD14

By Richard Lewis at September 10th, 2014

On World Suicide Prevention Day I thought it would be appropriate to remind members of our counselling and doctor advisor service.

The very nature of our profession means that we find ourselves constantly caring for others and all too often we can forget to take care of ourselves. But just like the rest of the population, we are vulnerable to a wide variety of illnesses.

While many doctors access medical care appropriately, others fail to do so as a result of personal, attitudinal or professional and cultural barriers, which may lead to some doctors denying or minimising their own medical problems.

Doctors who experience emotional and psychological health problems often encounter significant barriers to seeking help, particularly in light of a culture which leads doctors to view their own illness as a sign of personal weakness.

But doctors make crucial decisions for their patients during their working day, and it is important that patient safety is not compromised by a doctor continuing to work while too unwell to do so.

BMA counselling is a confidential, 24-7 telephone service, staffed by professional counsellors who are all members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The Doctor 4 Doctors service runs alongside BMA Counselling and gives doctors and medical students in difficulty, the choice of speaking in confidence to another doctor, at an early stage.

By seeking constructive and supportive help from the service, doctors may identify ways of addressing the root causes of their problem, develop strategies to reduce the impact of the consequences and rebuild their self-confidence.

Call 08459 200 169 (landline: 01455 254 189) – ask to speak to a Doctor Advisor

Find out more about our service here

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What inspired me to study medicine?

By administrator at September 8th, 2014

By Holly Kirk

What inspired me to study medicine? … Million dollar question.

Easier to answer if tailored to the audience. If asked by a family member, a generic answer is far more acceptable; rewarding, challenging and a good lifestyle.

If asked at an interview, you’ll spend hours trying to find a unique and wonderful answer to get you that place although similar ideals and drivers unify all medical students.

On a personal note, which is the one I struggle with most. It’s the ideal and notion that drives you when a bad shift at work threatens to drown all your enthusiasm. It’s the ideal and belief that you glare at for hope at the end of what seems like long dark ‘forever’ shifts… For me, it’s the challenge of it all, the variety, no two patients the same, no two days the same. The insight offered into individual personal lives, the way their experiences shape their health beliefs and manifestations of illness is both humbling and a unique and powerful learning tool. The trust that resides in a doctor patient relationship demands respect, honesty and comes with an immeasurable responsibility; to safeguard their life.  Medicine has the promise of being something quite daunting, demanding but equally something enlivening, moving and motivational. Find me another profession that pushes an individual to such extremes and I’ll eat my hat.

What inspired you to study medicine?

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Hospital Consultants express concerns about the viability of the service

By administrator at August 28th, 2014

By Dr Sharon Blackford

Hospital consultants across Wales have contacted BMA Cymru Wales to express their concerns about the viability of the service.

Their issues ranged from:

  • recruitment concerns: these are either general to Wales, or specific to their own specialty/department;
  • retention of doctors: this will either mean a general exodus from Wales or their own intention to leave Wales, retire and not return;
  • whilst significant number reported feeling under-valued by their employers and by Government which is having a considerable detrimental effect on their morale.

Many also expressed their concern about the impact upon patient care.

These comments reflect the mood of hospital consultants working across a wide range of specialities from every health board in Wales.

We feel undervalued by Welsh Government and are now expected to take a pay cut to fund the Government’s shortfall. Doctors should not have to take the hit for Government’s inability to manage the NHS finances properly.

The Doctors and Dentists Review Body – the body that takes evidence from governments and makes an independent recommendation on doctors pay recommended a 1% increase for all consultants – after five years of effective pay-cuts.  Not only did the Welsh Government refuse to accept the recommendation, it’s asking hospital consultants to take an even bigger hit by cutting their pay and this at a time when doctors are working harder than ever before to meet rising demand.

Why on earth would any doctor come to work in Wales and earn less money or be valued less than their English counterparts?  And this at a time when we need to attract many more doctors to Wales.

Consultants enjoy treating patients and are proud to work for the NHS.  However, there is a limit to how much they can take when salaries are cut, pressure to treat more and more patients increases and time to audit their work and research developments in their particular field is constantly under pressure. Many are at the end of their tether: their morale is at rock bottom.

Welsh Government has said in the past that to get the best, one needs to pay well. How does this relate to consultants?

This situation cannot continue. Doctors will continue leave and patients will suffer.  It is not acceptable.

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First days as a Doctor

By drphilipbanfield at August 6th, 2014

Most doctors face their first day with an equal measure of fear and excitement. To be welcomed to the Profession is still something to be immensely proud of. When old codgers like to bemoan that ‘house plants’ (a colloquialism for F1s in ‘the old days’) aren’t what they used to be, they are right – for some educationalists or other over the years cottoned on that the practice of medicine involves much more that just knowledge, so skills are now formally assessed and you are technically better armed to do (and communicate) what is required of you. Knowledge, after all, is to be accumulated over your life-time – if you knew it all now, there would be nothing left for development and appraisal!

The health service you practice in is a quantum away from that of 30 years ago, with different demands and expectations, too. Our underlying professionalism, that makes doctors unique, is an underlying constant, however.

I would suggest (as I often say to our medical students) that the only difference between those of us aged fogies and those starting their careers is that we are older.  At this time of year, all of us remember our first days as a doctor as if it was yesterday, such is the emotion this time provokes in us.

No doctor should fear seeking advice, help or surety – however junior (or senior) they are, and such assistance needs to be given freely, courteously and with an underlying aim of making both feel just a little bit better about being a doctor. This is, of course, sometimes difficult when we are tired, stressed or swamped with outstanding tasks, but this is at the core of our professionalism. Remembering that the team around you consists of loads of other human beings – nurses, healthcare support workers, cleaners, porters, telephonists, lab staff etc etc – and listening to their advice, too, helps to avoid feeling alone and isolated. If you feel like this, you should be talking to someone, for medicine is a team game.

Doctors beginning their practice this week have a lot to learn, but those of us well along our career paths may have forgotten just as much! We need each other as we trundle through our experiences that make up our medical careers.

We are all ‘Tomorrows Doctors’. Welcome to Wales!

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GP accommodation – minimum standards

By administrator at July 17th, 2014

by Sarah Moore

I am about to graduate from Cardiff Medical School; I have very much enjoyed my time on the Welsh Medical Students Committee. It has been an interesting year, the highlight being when I represented the WMSC at the National Medical Student’s conference in London, in April. I presented a motion which highlighted the need for minimum standards for student accommodation within primary care.

GP surgeries are allocated funds to provide suitable accommodation for students, but there are wide discrepancies in quality of provisions. The nature of primary care attachments is that they are very diverse, particularly in Wales. We are not discouraging diversity, simply requesting that there are minimum standards so that students are housed in a suitable safe environment whilst they are attached to GPs, whether in rural or urban areas. The motion was passed at the student conference, and later featured in an article BMA News.

This issue is not unique to students studying in Wales and over the coming months WMSC will be working closely with the MSC to work on this policy. Since the motion was passed, Cardiff Medical School have been keen to engage with the WMSC about this; outgoing WMSC Chair, Klara Brzyska and I recently had a meeting with university staff to discuss the development of the minimum standards for Cardiff medical students. We were encouraged by what has been drawn up and hope for successful implementation of these standards. The MSC may not adopt these on a national basis, but we are pleased that Cardiff Medical School are moving forward and listening to the student voice.

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Listening to staff and patients

By drphilipbanfield at July 16th, 2014

We are, perhaps, used to politicians saying one thing and doing another subsequently.  We all have our own favourite examples of this, such as the UK Coalition Government stating that there will be no ‘top down reorganisation (privatisation) of the English NHS’, while Sir David Nicholson, its Chief Executive at the time, declared that the change was so monumental that it “could be seen from space”.

The current contradiction taxing me is how Welsh Government arranged specifically for the term “and Wales” to be removed from the consultant contract – previously, “England and Wales”, now just “England” – but now seems to be attempting to rejoin a ‘UK’ negotiation because it feels that the Welsh Consultant Committee (WCC) has been unreasonable in rejecting potential pay-cuts for consultants as a pre-condition to contract talks in Wales.  WCC did this on the back of an unprecedented 450 e-mails from irate, upset and disillusioned consultants in Wales, many of whom highlighted just how much they are propping up a battered, creaking NHS in desperate need of repair.  Talks, as they say, are on-going.

This is about patients. We have to do all we can to attract doctors to Wales, not drive those we do have away; we must value the contribution of staff and patients in fixing what we know is broken in the NHS in Wales.

Thankfully, you don’t have to take MY word for it, for we have yet another report highlighting how the NHS in Wales fails to listen, and still has a prevailing air of secrecy, fear and bullying.  Let’s see what someone independent of both the NHS and politicians has to say – the ex-CEO of Panasonic UK, Mr Keith Evans.

You would expect someone so successful in industry to be good with words so let’s pick out a few from his review of the NHS Wales complaints procedure – Putting Things Right

First, he recounts his credentials and what it takes to be successful – put the ‘customer’ (patient) first.  Indeed, you must “humbly wear your customers’ shoes and place yourself in their position at all times”.  His comment about mistakes is also worth repeating: “From a customer perspective, it is important to accept graciously the kind assistance of those who have so far been patient with your shortfalls and let them teach you how to put them right”.

Instead of trying to sell us a commercial and managerial picture of the NHS he appears supportive of it;

“There is little that industry can teach the NHS with regards to delivering front line expert medical or clinical services.  The NHS continues to be regarded by many as a world leader in the field of advanced healthcare delivery”. I like this man – it is almost as though he ‘gets it’, unlike so many others making decisions that affect our NHS in Wales.

So what is going wrong? Well, does the NHS welcome comments, criticisms or complaints; does it really want to ‘put things right’? (Shout out now).

“An organisation of any sort – public or private – that cannot receive a complaint with heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation will never succeed in the long term”.  Indeed, “using the information gathered from users is a vital analytical tool in ensuring that the organisation is not arrogantly pursuing its own cause and direction…”

But we have changed our NHS, haven’t we?  We have listened and acted and all is well? If so, why, post-Francis, is Mr Evans unsure if staff are more frightened or more open?  Staff that, he says, are the “unsung heroes”… “giving of their very best to care for us when we desperately need it”.

Staff, like patients it seems, are also lost in that beast of a system that is the NHS in Wales.  For a while now, Welsh Council has been considering the view that the manager led approach to the NHS is wrong; it just plainly hasn’t worked. The perception is of deep divisions in opinion; doctors and nurses asking for support and means to treat the patients in front of them, and managers asking for more managers to manage the NHS out of trouble. Both sides of this divide are drowning in processes and paperwork, with inadequate IT systems and conflicting priorities and purposes that will remain while non-clinically driven targets are put ahead of clinical priorities in the scramble for a restricted pot of Welsh Government cash.

But, Evans’ observes of the NHS in Wales; “There are too many levels of horizontal and vertical management; it is probably the most complex matrix organisation I have ever come across and mostly of its own making”.

As Evan’s implies from his comments on business, the NHS is not like a supermarket either.  The introduction of General Management by Griffiths (from Sainsbury’s) in the 1980s started the burgeoning industry of NHS processes and management structures that have paralysed the health service in getting on with the job of treating and caring for patients and their families.  Perhaps Morrisons have it right, when, in this age of austerity, they have proposed massive cuts in management levels – in order to put more people on the shop floor.  It is, they point out, what their customers want.

Is this starting to sound awfully familiar? Ah, yes – it is what doctors in Wales have been shouting for a while now, so far to deaf ears, it seems.

Doctors believe passionately in our National Health Service for Wales.  We have a unique chance to extend Bevan’s vision. But Wales is also poised to get it wrong.  In delegating responsibility to Health Boards, setting an impossible task that sets finance against service, Welsh Government risks overseeing the decimation of our NHS.  In not joining up the work of Health Boards, Welsh Government, Welsh Postgraduate Deanery, Universities and partners outside Wales, incrementalism is eroding the core framework that would allow a sustainable NHS in Wales.  We will struggle to maintain piece-meal services and no-one will take responsibility.  It may already be too late, but we’ll certainly know before the next Assembly elections in 2016.

Surely it is obvious to put the patients first and to support directly those who care for them?  Evidently not.  Put – don’t talk – things right, so that our doctors can care with due compassion and humility, as our patients have asked of us.

If you want to run the health service well, ask the doctors for their prescription.  Do it now, please, while there is still an NHS in Wales to play for.  If you don’t want to listen to us, then listen to the independent reports – or perhaps we might listen to, and learn from, our patients, for it is them we all serve.

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A final word from this Welsh Council

By drphilipbanfield at July 10th, 2014

As we finish the term of this current Welsh Council, we find that there is much unfinished work and that the future of the NHS in Wales remains uncertain.  Of course, this is why many of us are standing for election again, and why we have been encouraging others to stand for the first time.  Our major achievements have been to formalise our guidance on service reviews and hospital reconfiguration, with our major paper “Creating a healthier NHS in Wales – openness, transparency and raising concerns – a prescription from Welsh Council” due to be published after the ARM later this month.

This is about our profession.  It is about standing up with our heads high and clearly visible above the parapet, with like-minded doctors who believe we are the solution not the problem to the future of the NHS in Wales; an NHS we have chosen to work in and support because we believe in patient care determined by need.

If we falter now, we are lost, and the managerialism that has seen so much resource diverted from front-line direct patient care will have prevailed.  We are the last bastion of Bevan’s vision; it is precious and should not be squandered through parochialism on the one hand and ambivalence on the other.

The BMA is now the only place where doctors of today and tomorrow, of all specialties, grades and place of work, come together.  Our political and managerial masters would pit each of us against the other.  It is our job, in Welsh Council, to see through this; to lead and to stand for the beliefs and values of the medical profession.  For it is in this way that sanity is brought to the chaos threatening our patients from inefficiencies, wasted resources and ill-conceived reconfigurations.

Ask a doctor what he or she needs to do the job they have been trained to do; what can be improved; what needs to be done, and you will see and hear with the eyes and ears of our patients.  In supporting us to do our work with our professional colleagues, you alter patient care and outcomes most often for the better.  Create the means to track our journey wisely, and even better benefits are possible. Fail to do this and the waste and needless suffering will continue. The problem is that those who decide will not listen to those with silenced voices, but seem to press ahead regardless.  For this challenges political face, and power still resides with the loudest and strongest, it seems.  We have decisions from those in power that affect others, but not them, without reference to those most affected.  This HAS NOT CHANGED, nor shows signs of doing so, despite the rhetoric.  We will wallow in the squalor that the NHS in Wales should otherwise been capable of extracting itself from. Sad is the day that laments these missed opportunities.

But until that day, we fight for what is right for patients, for this is right for doctors as well.

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Preparing for work seminar

By administrator at June 5th, 2014

Maimoona Ali, member of the Welsh Medical Students Committee and Cardiff 5th year student blogs about her recent involvement in organising a BMA seminar on preparing for work.

Matt and Nia (BMA Cymru Wales Employment Advisers) discussed the Preparing for Work seminar at the last Welsh Medical Students Committee (WMSC) meeting, which was a week before my elective to Malawi.  So it was a busy time with lots of to do lists and planning already on the go.

The idea was that me and Sarah (the other 5th year BMA Cardiff rep) would assist Matt in planning the event.  Matt had told us his best attendance for this annual seminar at Cardiff was 50 people.  Our aim was to beat this!  We had 3 weeks of lectures post elective before placement so we conveniently chose the second week to ensure maximum numbers at the event.  So a provisional date was decided before I flew off to Africa.

Whilst I was away on my elective I left my internet email accounts and admin for my mum to deal with as I knew I would have limited/no access to internet during my time in Malawi.  So my mum became my PA, a role which she took great pride in!  My mum (who types with one finger at a time) loved being my PA and replying to Matt’s e-mails about the Preparing for Work seminar!  She even rung me whilst I was at Liwonde Safari camp, Malawi asking me the questions Matt wanted answers for.

As we were away on elective for two months, we thought it would be best to use the power of social media via Facebook to advertise the event. The Facebook event was created five days before the seminar.  The weekend before the seminar whilst I was at the BMA medical students conference in London, the numbers confirming their attendance on Facebook rapidly increased to the point where we reached triple figures! Over 100 people said they were attending.

I think that our year were in a state of panic after been told where they were going to work for the next two years of their lives. Great timing for this seminar!  Fear tactics work.  This also meant Matt had to increase the pizza order as over 100 people were attending (he was still skeptical about numbers!)

Tuesday 6pm the lecture theatre began filling up quickly.  Record numbers attended – 137 was the final count!  The seminar was busier than most of our lectures this year.  Nia had handouts for her lecture, and we simultaneously gave out elective surveys to complete. The purpose of the survey was for students to provide details about their elective; the response to be collated as a resource for students going on elective in the future.  There was also a free prize draw for £20 Amazon vouchers – students love a good freebie!

Nia’s presentation was very informative and concise.  She also tried to highlight the differences between Wales and England where possible.  Not many people knew about banding and contracts so the presentation was an eye opener into the big wide world and the joys of working for the NHS.  The feedback from the seminar was very positive.  After the event pizza was served and Matt had a BMA stand.  He managed to recruit 4 new members as well.

This was the first BMA event I had helped to organise.  It was thoroughly enjoyable task which was of benefit to myself and the year-group.  My mum particularly enjoyed playing a part and making virtual friends with Matt!  From a WMSC perspective it was an opportunity for upcoming F1 doctors (the majority of whom are staying in Wales) to learn about the ways in which the BMA can support them through their careers.  This was just the beginning of the long journey to retirement and pension time!

A preparing for work seminar is held each year for final year students in both medical schools.

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