Monday, 28 July 2014

A Letter to UK Paediatricians

Dear Paediatricians

I have seen on twitter and heard from my mum that you have been asked to vote on 
30th September on whether your Royal College should grow to include a Foundation of Child Health.

It may seem strange to you, but mum and do chat about these things.  What happens with paediatricians in the UK is important to me, may be even as important as it is for you, as my life depends upon it.  Without wonderful care from well trained, educated and knowledgable paediatricians I would not be here today.

The vote on 30th September is important to every child and young person in the UK, so if you possibly can please do get there and vote.

Mum knows more about the new plans than most parents, as she is  Chair of the College's Parent and Carer Advisory Committee.  She explained  earlier this year why the proposed Foundation of Child Health is so important.  This is what she said:-

"I want to say why these recommendations are, I believe, SO IMPORTANT. 

My son Adam is 14, he is just one of the UK's 11 million children & young people for whom these recommendations are, in my view, crucial. 

The recommendations not only protect the College's CORE STRENGTHS, of the training, education and professional development of its paediatrician members, but they also TRANSFORM the College's governance, making it fit for the second decade of the 21st centuary and beyond. 

But perhaps the most important thing the recommendations do, is recognise the modern face of medicine, and make children and young people, rather than the doctors caring for them, paramount. 

My son Adam lives his life on a knife edge. He is hospital today, he has been in hospital for the last six months. He has spent over half his life in hospital. We have lived around the UK. Adam has had care in 2 DGHs, 2 tertiory hospitals and three specialists childrens hospitals. 

His health is complex, difficult & unusal, which means he has seen the very best and the very worst of the UK's health care. Adam and therefore my family depend on high quality care from well trained, well educated, well regulated, happy and motivated paediatricians more than most. Adam's life literally does depend on the continuing success of this College. 

But Adam, like all children, is much more than the sum of his health conditions. He is a bright, much cherished boy. Like all children, he relies on a broad team of multi-disclinary professionals to give him a good life. All children do. All children have teachers; all children rely directly or indirectly on the expertise of psychologists, child rights specialists, nurses, therapists, voluntary organisations, play specialists; GPs and many more.  

Sick and disabled children rely on an an even broader community of experts. Not just on an individual day to day basis, but at policy and strategic level. 

As Sir Ian Kennedy has argued for many years, medical decisions are no longer purely clinical decisions at an individual or national strategic level.

Members of this college can not make best interest decisions without including expert colleagues from a multitude of professions in those decisions. 

At its most grim, how many times have you heard of a tragedy involving a child where the failure of muli- professional agencies to engage is found to be at the core of the problem? 

Have you ever heard of a tragedy where too much multi-professional engagement was the key cause? No me neither. 

The College's Young People Advisory Committee and the Parent Carer Advisory Group are firmly behind opening up this organisation to multi- professionals and the goverance reforms. 

 Why? because we live daily with the consequenes  of failed policies due to the right questions not being asked to the right people; the multi-professional experts, together with children, young people & their families. 

Both the goverance and the foundation recommendations are about modernising the college, bringing it up to date with modern day practice and putting children and young people's best interests at its very centre. 

Professionally, as a lawyer, I have been involved in number of reforms of organisations. I became the Chair of PCG in October, so came late to the Goverance Review Board. What has struck me from my very first involvement, looking on "through the lens of a lawyer" is the highly professional, diligent way the college has managed this process. 
Due time and consideration has been taken.   The breath and depth of the consultation process with college members and others is most impressive. Views have been canvassed and fears and questions addressed in an impressively professional and dignified manner .

Earlier this year  Adam was the face of a NHS Change Day campaign supported by the College, encouraging all health staff to engage with child patients. The tag line for that campaign is "it is about me" 

Those 4 words sum up really well why these recommendations are so important to all the UK's children and young people.  It is them who are paramount and I believe, as well as safeguarding the future of the college and the wonderful dedicated paediatric profession, these proposals are , as they should be, about them -our children & young people. 

Thank you"

So please get to the EGM to vote on 30th September if you possibly can.

Here is the link to register:-

Many thanks