It is a great honour to have been elected president of NACCS and I was thrilled to be handed to medal of office by Sally at the end of the Nottingham ASM.
She has steered the Society through a very difficult period, and hands over with the society that can continue to deliver specialist education in the area of Neuroanaesthesia and neurocritical care. The society has a larger membership than ever before consisting of a growing number of anaesthetists and critical care physicians in training.
Succeeding Roger Lightfoot during the latter part of the COVID period, Sally has overseen a virtual education world and navigated the society through reintroduction of the face-to-face ASM in Birmingham, and then onwards and upwards to the Nottingham event, where it was so reassuring to see the familiar faces of those who have supported the society over many years.
The growth of the numbers of doctors in training has been another highlight of the Society’s recent history. It may reflect the changes in training and the difficulty to obtain speciality experience, but I also believe this has occurred because of the outstanding engagement of the trainee representative body that, over recent years, have evolved a real legacy with each incumbent developing the role further.
Combine that with the educational resource that Jess Welbourne has overseen in conjunction with Dan Stubbs (as trainee rep) and NACCS has become a high quality , easily accessible source for the anaesthetist/intensive care physician who is eager to expand their knowledge.
This year has seen the appointment of our first Intensive Care Medicine trainee rep that has not come from Anaesthesia, this will enable yet further dissemination of learning and foster stronger links with the acute physicians that may have had less exposure to acute neurotrauma and neurosurgical disease. Charis Banks, who now has the trainee role, has already embarked upon revitalising the Trainee Rep role for the regions and is looking to offer greater scope to their role.
Financial stability of the Society has been a heightened concern over the period since 2019, but the resolve of our membership and support from industry has given NACCS a strong financial position. This year our assets exceeded £200, 000 for the first time. I have to give special thanks to Joe Sebastian, who initially as a co-opted member and now elected member, has forged excellent relationships with industry. On his appointment to Council, he implemented the industry partnership concept, where key sponsors were able to commit to a 3 year contract with us, providing financial stability. In return these partners (Masimo®, Integra®, Edwards Life Sciences®, Medtonic® and Stuarts Law have also provided specific educational seminars and been prominent contributors to meetings both virtual and face to face. The education has exceeded that of the traditional medical arena and has diversified into addressing how anaesthetic/critical care practice is not only of high medical quality, but also medico-legally sound. We have been educated by Stuart’s Law on matters such as the Mental Capacity Act, and how to avoid errors in the consenting process.
Education and research are key facets of our mission, and Jon Coles is our key guide through this, he represents NACCS on matters relating to grants, and oversees the process of travel awards for trainees and consultants. He runs the trainee abstract and prize aspect of the ASM. Nottingham saw a healthy growth in submissions, a trend we thoroughly endorse and hope to see even more in the coming ASMs.
Our newest recruit to Council, Sandeep Lakhani, brings with him experience from his work at the RCOA. His portfolio includes the “Surveys” process, which has long been an important part of NACCS, where trainees, SAS and consultants ( and now allied medical professionals ) can find out how everyone else does things).
We are proud to emphasise that all our involvements with Industry have been in accordance with UK legislation and we have been entirely transparent with our auditors and the Charity Commission.
The Society has recognised the importance of web and social media access, and this has resulted in significant investment in both areas to ensure NACCS is both accessible, current and relevant to its membership and those who have an interest in our sphere. Argy Zoumprouli and Lara Prisco have forged the e-agenda, ensuring that the society transmits correct and evidence-based information. Lara hosted has hosted a virtual journal club and posted videos from the ASM (though I would have to admit that my interview never made the cut, showing excellent editorial choice).
Gemma, in her role as honorary secretary, deserves a huge vote of thanks and we must all acknowledge the immense amount of work she undertakes to ensure the society ticks along smoothly; she is overseeing modifications of the membership application process, as well as producing minutes and overseeing constitutional change recommendations.
For me, taking on the presidential role has always been an aspiration. I recall, as a senior registrar, attending the ASM in Cambridge and being introduced to Ed Moss. I recall telling him that I would make the president’s role one day. I must say that I cannot believe how different the medical world is now from back in 2002; the pressures on time, the restrictions on study and professional leave have all contributed into making the space for NACCS to exist smaller and more competitive.
COVID drove us all indoors and threatened sponsorship revenue, and yet NACCS endured, we learned how to be virtual and understood what educational needs had to be met.
We are now confronting the issues of reduced resources and exploring how shortened stay and day case surgery can be introduced into our specialty. We are so grateful to experience the evolution of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity into the fabric of the Society.
The NACCS council is busy and proactive, we have a strong heritage and can build upon the foundations set by those before us and we are well set to respond to the rapidly changing medical environment of our current age.
I would like to give particular thanks to those Trustees who, after many years of commitment to the society, the council and then as trustees have completed their positions of office. Plat Raziz and Ian Tweedie have stepped down from Trustee role in the past two years. It was Ian who,very many years ago, interviewed me for a post CCST fellowship role at the Walton Centre, and Plat who phoned me one winter evening to ask if I could be convinced to host the 50th ASM ( and hence be co-opted to council ).
I would also like to thank you for taking the time to read this, and to continue in your support for our Society.
We are here to further education and support research. We are here to listen and support and maybe inspire.
I am looking forward to seeing NACCS develop during my brief time in office.