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31 March 2017
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Outcomes from the 2017 regional conferences in NI and Scotland

Regional conferences took place this month, in Northern Ireland and in Scotland, with some delegates opting to capitalise on the learning and networking opportunities by attending both events.

Northern Ireland’s conference on Engaging, leading and improving was held at Riddel Hall, Belfast on 9 March

Dr Rachael Hutton, ADEPT Clinical Leadership Fellow and FMLM Northern Ireland Conference Committee member, said: “We were delighted that the success of the conference has continued to grow since its inception in 2014. With more than 140 delegates, we heard inspiring talks from world class healthcare leaders.”

Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer and FMLM Lead for Northern Ireland , gave a warm welcome and assured all present that the skills to tackle the ‘wicked problems’ in Northern Ireland’s healthcare system “are within our control” and emphasised the importance of “seeking to set a direction rather than awaiting direction from others” in the reconfiguration of health services.

Keynote speaker, Professor Rafael Bengoa, Director of the Institute for Health and Strategy and widely regarded as a world expert on healthcare reform having advised the European Union and the Obama administration, outlined how to implement reform through ‘systems, not structures’.

Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, highlighted the importance of “enabling our enabled doctors” and reminded delegates to lead by example across all grades, including students.

The challenge of how to learn during healthcare improvement was presented by Mr Pedro Delgado, Head of Europe and Latin America Regions, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, using the example of a large scale maternity improvement project in Brazil.

Feedback was extremely positive, with delegates noting: “There was a feeling of ease to ask questions at a conference with a genuine aim to learn.” Also, “Welcoming speakers encouraged open debate.”

Scotland’s conference on Promoting resilience was held at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on 14 March

Venue host, Mr Mike Lavelle Jones, RCSEd President, welcomed more than 90 delegates and speakers to the conference which was organised by FMLM Trainee Representative for Scotland and former Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow, Dr Gemma Sullivan.

Keynote speaker, Rhona Flin, Professor of Industrial Psychology at Robert Gordon University, talked of the importance of ‘chronic unease’ – as illustrated through the extraordinary system failure challenges of Vasa and NASA – in order to develop effective managerial resilience skills in high risk environments.

Mr Peter Lees, FMLM Chief Executive and Medical Director, renewed the message he delivered in Northern Ireland, that any reference to leadership and management being synonymous with the ‘dark side’ was counter-productive for all in the system; instead he encouraged everyone to reflect on their leadership role in reform as a conscious move to the ‘enlightened side’.

The face of compassionate leadership was presented by medical student group, Humans of the NHS, whose objective is to spotlight individual stories of the hard work and dedication to patient care in the NHS.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, brought the conference to a close by calling for a collaborative approach in working towards realising realistic medicine in Scotland.

Dr Iain Wallace, Medical Director at NHS Lanarkshire and FMLM Lead for Scotland, said the conference was a great opportunity to network with colleagues, old and new: “We look forward to welcoming more of our members to next year’s event.”

Congratulations to the poster competition winners at both conferences: Gerard Kelly, in Northern Ireland, for improving the arthroplasty patient journey and Dr Alison Shepherd and the team at NHS Lanarkshire, for promoting resilience through the Chief Resident model of trainee engagement.

For further comment and opinion on Scotland’s conference theme of resilience, read Dr Arrianne Laws’ blog - Resilience: maybe it isn’t all bad?

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