Announcing our new Registrar - President's blog

In his second ever President’s message, Steve welcomes RCPCH’s new Registrar. He also shares highlights from representing the College to the MPs on the Tobacco and Vapes Public Bill Committee, discusses the rise in whooping cough cases and introduces members to the new regular feature, What Does Your College Do for You (#WDYCD4Y).
RCPCH President Professor Steve Turner giving evidence to the Tobacco and Vapes Public Bill Committee

It has been a busy time in politics across the UK. The Assembly in Northern Ireland has reconvened after a two-year pause, and there are New First Ministers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Local elections in England and Wales have also highlighted challenges for the government in Westminster. But what does this all mean for our College members here in the UK and for children and young people?

Wherever we live in the world, political decisions affect both our workforce and the health and well-being of our patients. Sir Michael Marmot provided ample evidence of spending decisions being linked to subsequent health outcomes in children and young people when he spoke at our Annual Conference in Birmingham this year.

Along with the Chair of the Royal College of General Practice, I represented our College to the MPs on the Tobacco and Vapes Public Bill Committee. The Chair made it clear that the committee was very keen to hear our clinical perspectives on vaping, nicotine addiction and the proposed legislation (Tobacco and Vapes Bill).  

Doctors and nurses have a privileged position to help our local and national politicians make the right decision. In the coming months and years, this leadership is going to be important to child health services, children and young people and wider society. So, if you have an opportunity to get involved, e.g. your local Integrated Care System (ICS), please take it. As a member you can access our Leadership Hub. We have a leadership webinar coming up (18 June). We have a network of Ambassadors across ICSs, and our devolved nations officers have regular meetings with their Government or Assembly.

As a postscript, please can I introduce you to #WDYCD4Y – What Does Your College Do for You. Starting in my next blog, I will highlight one of the multitude of activities the College does for our members. I know that I should really know everything, and please don’t tell anyone, but I keep on finding more things that our College is doing. I look forward to sharing these with you over the next few years.

Announcement of our new Registrar

I am delighted to announce that Dr Jan Dudley has been elected as our new College Registrar for an initial three-year term. Please join me in wishing her a huge congratulations. The Registrar is the second most Senior Officer in our College. I also want to thank the other members who sought your vote in the election, and thanks to everyone who used their vote and took part in this important College process.  

Updated College EDI data – now live

On Wednesday this week we published an updated snapshot of the demographics of RCPCH membership. I’m pleased to say we now have details of protected characteristics on almost 70% of members – we had data on only 9% of members this time last year. This is a great achievement, and I am very grateful to members for sharing this information – as this will help inform future College activity to ensure all aspects of College life are as inclusive as they can be.  

Tackling infectious diseases – whooping cough

On Thursday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published data showing rising cases of whooping cough (pertussis), with 1,319 cases confirmed in March 2024 compared with 858 cases for the whole of 2023. We know that maternal vaccination rates are far too low, no doubt adding to this current spike. For those involved in public health management, UKHSA has published guidance on whooping cough. It is desperately sad and hugely frustrating that preventable and sometimes fatal diseases like whooping cough and measles are having a resurgence. We want to champion the use of vaccinations to win the battle against these infections and we continue to engage with NHS bodies and Governments around the UK to urgently improve public uptake of these vaccinations.  

Upcoming deadline: NIHR Programme Development Grants

The NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) programme for child health is offering significant funding to address some of the most challenging issues in paediatrics, and the College has supported this grant call.  

Applicants are strongly advised to read the eligibility criteria – which include using a range of multidisciplinary and methodological approaches, make a stepped change to practice and/or outcome, and include clear plans for implementation. The funding opportunity extends beyond health research and includes wider aspects of child wellbeing, including public health, mental health, social care and education. The deadline for applications is 22 May 2024, and you can find the guidance, eligibility criteria webinar and more on our website.

Improving working conditions for trainees

On 29 April NHS England pledged to enhance choice and flexibility with rotas, while reducing payroll errors and the financial burden of course fees in England. Our fantastic Trainees Committee Chair and Vice-Chair, Emma Dyer and Emma Coombe responded to this announcement. While these are positive steps there is more to be done, and we will keep calling on governments around the UK, and the NHS bodies to ensure our staff are prioritised.  


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