Bulletin 115, May 2019
Welcome to the May Bulletin
It gives me great pleasure to be able to introduce this trainee issue of the Bulletin, featuring a series of contributions by anaesthetists in training, and led by the redoubtable Katie Samuel from the College’s Anaesthetists in Training Committee. The chosen title for the front page, ‘Growing resilience and developing excellence’ elegantly captures in five words the competing challenges that face the modern doctor. Stressed by working hour demands, patient pressures and demands for increasing efficiency, while maintaining and improving quality of care would be daunting task for anybody, but I am sure that readers of this issue will be left in no doubt of the commitment and drive of our future leaders. From perioperative medicine to research and national audit, anaesthetists in training are at the forefront, and it is comforting to know that, as I descend into old age and physical infirmity, my care will be delivered by such skilled, knowledgeable and committed professionals.
Stress, resilience and burnout feature elsewhere in the Bulletin as well, with thought-provoking articles from Lucy Williams and Carol Pellowe. Mental health and well-being of practitioners are, of course, very ‘trendy’ issues, and while some of us might be tempted to make light of them, I believe that their importance cannot be overstated. Not only do we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to be as emotionally healthy as we can, but we owe it to our patients as well. A stressed, burnt-out doctor is unlikely to be giving of his or her best.
Anaesthetists in training feature elsewhere in the journal as well. I would highlight the article by Tom Munford, Seetal Aggarwal and Thomas Fletcher, where they describe how they became involved as key members of the ACSA preparation team when the College were invited to Nottingham to credential the quality of their anaesthetic care. As well as being able to represent the views of trainees to the assessors, they describe a valuable exposure to and insight into the issues that face clinical directors and training leads tasked with delivering high quality care. The lessons to trainees are clear: encourage your department to seek ACSA accreditation and get involved in the process.
Jaideep Pandit continues his series of stimulating articles, and here turns away from his recent focus on theatre efficiency to a topic that exercises many of us; workload versus income. From its name alone, the ‘Income Death Zone’ is not a place where any of us would want to be, and his careful financial analysis is recommended to anyone considering doing a few extra waiting list initiatives. Are you sure you want to work for no extra income? Or would you rather reduce your tax burden by gift-aiding to the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, as suggested by David Wilkinson? Something of a no-brainer, I would suggest.
Finally, as befits a forward-thinking and eclectic journal like the Bulletin, we have published a poem! Reena Ellis’ contribution illustrates the tension between professional satisfaction and emotional and physical exhaustion that comes with an obstetric night on call, and in doing so reflects the reality of some of the more conventional articles in this issue. Any other poetical contributions will be gratefully received.