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24 November 2016
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A walk on the enlightened side

I’ve been a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow nearly three months and I can honestly say it’s been one of the most thrilling periods of my 10+ year medical career to date.

I’m working at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges for 50 per cent of my time, and spending the other 50 per cent at NHS England. My workload is incredibly diverse, covering projects from end of life care to promoting better patient-physician conversations.

The Academy represents its members, 24 royal colleges and faculties, on a national level on matters pertaining to standards of care and medical education. I am working mainly on the Choosing Wisely campaign launched this autumn, but also on issues such as the definition of significant injury, delivering sustainable health and care systems, and conflicts of interest.

As part of Choosing Wisely, I’ve helped create and curate the list of recommendations to make them patient friendly, sat on the BBC Breakfast couch to discuss the initiative, which was aired to 1.5 million people, ran the corporate Twitter account, was invited to speak to BUPA, and had an article published by the Spectator. The beauty of my fellowship at the Academy is that I work closely with the dynamic Chief Executive, Alastair Henderson, who I am in contact with on a daily basis and who invites me along to all manner of interesting meetings in which I can make a positive impact; recent examples are discussions with HEE on reforming the ARCP process and the GMC on improving flexibility in training.

As the Academy acts as the hub for its 24 members, we hold innumerable meetings here for such organisations and other arm’s length bodies in which I am able to take part and bring my contribution as a doctor in training. The Academy is a friendly place to work; Chair, Professor Dame Sue Bailey’s  door is always open and I’ve been very impressed with my colleagues’ breadth and depth of knowledge of UK and global healthcare issues , far outstripping my own. 

My time at NHSE is focusing on end of life care with the National Clinical Director for End of Life Care, Professor Bee Wee and the rest of the team, who are based in Quarry House, Leeds. So far, I have submitted work to the All Party Parliamentary Group Patient Safety Inquiry into Malnutrition in End of Life Care, organised a workshop looking at multi-morbidity at the end of life, sat on the first meeting of the programme board for end of life care, and have been tasked with collating and assessing metrics to better define quality of care at the end of life. Bee is an inspirational and approachable leader, who I am in regular contact with by phone, email or in person, and who trusts me to lead on projects.

I’m very lucky that having been a passionate campaigner against too much medicine and for better end of life care, I ended up with this fellowship and I wouldn’t change a thing. If this is the first three months, then I can’t wait for the next nine!

Interested in applying to the National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow Scheme 2017/18 cohort? Find out more and submit your application by 16 January 2017.

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