Acute News caught up with the Society’s new President, Dr Chris Roseveare, shortly after he took over the role at the SAM meeting in London to discuss his vision for the speciality over the next two years.
Chris has always been an extremely committed and active SAM member; he was Treasurer for nearly eight years and Vice President for two. ‘I have a real passion for the specialty’ Chris says, ‘and I hope that this will inspire others in a similar way.’
It was partly the political focus on emergency care and the four hour target that helped acute medicine grow so rapidly as a specialty but Chris admits it will be challenging continuing that growth as financial pressures begin to bite and the focus shifts away from time-based targets.
Of course, changes in the political landscape have little real effect on the everyday workings of the AMU. ‘The numbers of patients being admitted to our AMUs daily show no sign of abating,’ Chris notes, ‘and it will be down to us to ensure we continue to provide the safe, high quality, senior-led care which they deserve.’ And a key element in providing this care is the establishment of seven day working.
‘It is going to be a huge challenge, but one which we cannot ignore, with the growing evidence that patient outcomes are worse following weekend admission. SAM is focussing heavily on this area and will shortly be producing a position statement which outlines our recommendations on implementing seven day working in AMUs.’
Another important area Chris will be overseeing is the introduction of SAM’s quality indicators and standards into AMUs around the country.
Chris says: ‘My predecessor Dr Philip Dyer worked tirelessly to produce these and implementing them over the coming years will enable us to demonstrate that we are providing safe and consistent service across the country. Ultimately these may become the framework for a system of accreditation for AMUs, which the RCP is keen to support.’
Having been closely involved in organising SAM meetings over the years Chris is keen to ensure they remain as inspiring and enlightening as ever.
‘The meeting in Dublin next spring will be the 25th meeting which SAM has held, and we hope that this will be a very special event… It was great to see so many delegates join us from outside the UK at this year’s meeting, with a particularly large delegation from the Netherlands who are keen to further develop the speciality of acute medicine.’
The Society meetings have given those involved in acute medicine the chance to shape the specialty, and while that must continue Chris feels it is vital that we spread the message of acute medicine as far and wide as possible.
‘This process has already started,’ Chris explains, ‘SAM is now represented on the key committees at the Royal College of Physicians, and has been involved in the development of many NICE guidelines; increasingly we are being asked to contribute in key policy decisions, so our voices are being heard at the highest level. However the awareness and understanding of our speciality amongst the public and some areas of the medical profession remain variable. Over the next two years I would like this to change. We are planning an Acute Medicine Awareness Day next June and will be encouraging AMUs to participate in events designed to raise our profile, and improve understanding of who we are and what we do.’
There may be far more SAM can do for acute medicine but Chris believes it will be bringing in new blood that will ensure future growth.
‘We have come a long way in a short space of time. Now we need to look forward. There are many newly appointed consultants now arriving on the scene who have been trained specifically in acute medicine. These consultants are already making a great contribution to the speciality, bringing new ideas and developing new services. We need to these individuals to engage with SAM and help us to drive acute medicine into the next decade.’