Dr Susan Crossland’s closing comments: SAM London 2021

By Dr Susan Crossland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine 

It has been an excellent conference and I would like to extend my thanks to all of our wonderful speakers over the last 48 hours.

Equality and diversity is so important and we must continue to advocate for the most vulnerable in society. I hope our conference has started the conversations we must continue.

I have enjoyed all the sessions but, for me, the highlight has to have been the first session of the second day, looking at our most vulnerable patients and how we can engage with them by working in partnership. 

Another highlight was hearing Professor Jonathan Van-Tam and getting insight from him what it has been like on the literal front line of the pandemic. The fact that he took the time to thank our acute physicians for the work they have done did not go unnoticed.

From the perspective of acute internal medicine, this conference coincides with the end of my time as President.

I hope that I have achieved the aim of putting acute internal medicine firmly on the agenda at a national level and have also managed to get the mainstream media to understand the importance of acute physicians all over the UK.

There is much work still to do. My own talk focussed on my personal experience of Covid-19 – both from a personal point of view and my own mental health and wellbeing, but also on how there are parallels to the past and how as SAM, and indeed medicine and wider society in general, we need to learn, grow and evolve.

Recovery from Covid-19 is always going to be hampered by the increased demand we have seen in our services – indeed our speakers on palliative care have highlighted how the pandemic has delayed presentation of disease, and many patients have seen their conditions deteriorate over time.

Jeremy Hunt, for whom we are grateful to for attending, has highlighted how great that challenge is.

We will always champion the cause of patients admitted for urgent and emergency care and call on the government to work with us, as the experts, to ensure that our patients get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Acute internal medicine, while only a part of that urgent care pathway, needs to be recognised as pivotal to the success of unscheduled care.

SAM is 21 years old this year.

We have truly come of age and our conference in London has shown the maturity of the society.

We are not afraid to have difficult conversations and to collaboratively find solutions.