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AHCS President Christmas Message

Well 2017 has been a challenging & eventful year not only for my Presidential role, but also for me personally!

The Christmas/New Year holidays, are part of our British culture irrespective of our race, creed or upbringing & is traditionally a time to reflect on the calendar year.

The Academy Council has moved forward significantly, reaching decisions on funding, several policies including, Consultations, Terms of Reference and with this infrastructure in place for starting a piece of work on HCS Workforce. I am indebted to the professional body leads who have shown patience, commitment & a willingness to work for an HCS One Voice.

We didn’t manage an annual AHCS conference, but we have held one of 2 Strategy Days in Edinburgh, with a further “southern” one due in the Spring.

On a personal level, I have visited Nepal, a 3rd World country with a huge respiratory disease burden, twice, to train & assess 15 doctors/nurses in spirometry competence, taught 30+ doctors about lung function interpretation, donated spirometers & textbooks, and visited over 8 hospitals in a variety of settings. I even visited pathology labs from the most basic to state of the art digitised systems, but everywhere I found healthcare scientists trying their best and adopting the best standards they could manage. Seeing another healthcare system & its problems has helped me reflect on our NHS, and put our challenges into perspective. I have seen what being severely under-resourced & over-subscribed does to a healthcare system & I believe we have to influence our government to adequately fund our healthcare system & specifically our HCS services accordingly.  We are at a threshold in UK healthcare where we need to ensure minds are focussed on truly effective use of funds and not just “jobs for the boys” or rich pickings for the commercially savvy to give their shareholders.

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I have worked alongside scientific colleagues who have had incredible personal challenges outside work this year but still delivered great professionalism at work! All of this experience has influenced the “caring” part of my HCS role, and like many of you, enhanced my clinical acumen & understanding of what patients require. We have some amazing people in healthcare science – and I am privileged to hold this Presidency as a figurehead of such dedicated professionals.

I wish all of you who can, to have good times with your families & friends in the Festive period. For those working/on call – thank you for the quality services you provide to help those patients in hospital to continue their pathways.

For 2018, I would like to see the One Voice message become the reality for all frontline HCS, so they feel connected in our scientific family, to help them work across professional boundaries and to raise the HCS profile wherever they work. We need the public, patients & other healthcare staff, to see that it’s not just about “doctors& nurses”. HCS is part of the solution to many NHS problems – not just appointing more consultants!

Have a happy, peaceful & relaxing Festive time and a successful 2018.

Prof. Brendan Cooper
Consultant Clinical Scientist,

Hon.Professor in Respiratory & Sleep Physiology

President, Academy for Healthcare Science

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