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AHCS President’s Christmas Message 2016

Dr Brendan Cooper Academy for Healthcare Science PresidentDear Healthcare Science Colleagues,

Well once again the Festive Season comes around far too quickly, but it provides a suitable pause in the “rapid sequencing” of our clinical world to reflect on what has been a tough year for all and to value what we have achieved as Healthcare Scientists in 2016.

The year has seen some high profile celebrities pass away, and many of them after long illnesses that silently, unnoticed would have required the work and support of armies of Healthcare Scientists. Whilst the celebrities will be household names, few if any of those HCS will be known outside their own household. We lost our own heroine who contributed greatly to the profile of HCS in the recent years, Shirley Fletcher, the “mum” of our scientific occupational standards. I’m sure many of you will know of scientific colleagues who have passed away this year and our thoughts are with their families and friends at this poignant time of year.  But for Healthcare Scientists, death is a daily reality for the services we provide – be they diagnostic, therapeutic, monitoring or assisting palliation – it is this caring role that sets us apart from other scientists colleagues. However, Christmas is traditionally about new life, hope for the future and supporting our fellow humans.

Collectively, we have delivered tens of millions of tests in 2016 for patients – blood samples, tissue samples, electrophysiological signals, pressures, flows, stimuli, radiation, the list is almost endless.  Each test is performed by highly trained Healthcare Scientists from one of 53 or more professions, to the best standards available. If you’re lucky enough to be at home (and not on call!) you can find time between festivities to reflect on a good job, well done, day after day, patient after patient, life after life.

For those of you who will be working over the holiday, we are proud of the brilliant job you are doing, supporting, caring, covering and leading the scientific healthcare of those particularly sick patients in hospital, because as many as can go home, will  be at home, or at least out of hospital.  Illness doesn’t have a holiday, diseases don’t take leave and the stresses of the festive period, the cold weather and over-indulgence can cause greater pressures on our already over-stretched healthcare system.

But we shouldn’t be despondent about the challenges of the future; we have weathered difficult times before and become stronger because of them. When Nye Bevan established the NHS in 1948, there were relatively few Healthcare Scientists supporting clinical work.  We are now central to 95% of all diagnostic tests in the modern NHS. We are often central in therapeutic delivery too.  We have over 53,000 HCS in all four countries, across all four branches of science and at the forefront of healthcare.

I hope you all get a chance to relax from work, enjoy time and fun with family and friends and that you come back after a well earned break with the batteries re-charged to take on the next challenges ahead.  2017 will be a busy year, but already we have some exciting events coming up with the NHSE CSO Conference in March, a promised review of all health regulation in the spring and continuation of evermore intriguing and clever innovations using our sciences to deliver even higher standards and quality of care. The Academy will continue to shout our One Voice to those who want to hear it, and extra loud to those who don’t particularly want to hear it!

To all Healthcare Scientists in the UK, I would like to wish you on behalf of the whole Academy Team a very Merry Christmas, a prosperous New Year or a good Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas.

Dr Brendan Cooper

AHCS President

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