Living our values when it counts most - President's blog

Camilla sends hope to colleagues in Sudan. She shares thoughts on the updated Healthcare Standards for Children and Young People in Secure Settings and gives a timely reminder on the updated training programme structure: Progress+.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, RCPCH President

Like so many people, I’ve been watching the war in Sudan develop with increasing horror. The stories of fear, panic and a sense of abandonment really strike a chord. A message from a Sudanese NHS doctor who is currently there described, “…no electricity, no water and scarce food”. She went on to write, “I’m now panicking, what will happen to us? Will we ever go home?” So many of us have Sudanese colleagues and the College has some very cherished members from Sudan too. Our hearts go out to them all and it is our fervent hope that the situation improves as quickly as possible.

Inspiring standards of care

One of the greatest privileges of being in my role, is the opportunity to learn new things and meet inspiring people. I had such an opportunity this week when we hosted the launch of updated Healthcare Standards for Children and Young People in Secure Settings. As a neonatologist I have to confess to knowing very little about this subject previously, but I have truly had my eyes opened!

These standards are focussed on driving up standards in healthcare delivery to children and young people who may have experienced extreme trauma and abuse. The opportunity to work positively with these young people is huge, and so the purpose of these standards is to improve both the quality and consistency of healthcare across all secure settings.

The truly inspiring part of this event, for me, was meeting the team from Peer Power who worked with the expert reference group to ensure that the voice of young people was both heard and integrated into the standards. We were joined by a young person with lived experience, who shared a presentation with attendees. His message was that children and young people want a nurturing environment and for staff to have an empathy-led mindset with a focus on building trust. That sounds reasonably easy to those of us who work in hospital and community healthcare settings. Though I sense it is hugely challenging across secure settings and so these standards are crucial for ensuring improvement can take place so that the mental, physical and neurodisability needs of these young people are met.

NHS Industrial action

The weekend ahead is a source of concern to many of us as we face more industrial action. Our nursing colleagues are the very backbone of our teams and vital to providing safe care for our patients. We sincerely hope the ongoing dispute between the various unions and UK Government can reach a resolution. For those working during this period of industrial action, please take a look at our industrial action web pages for advice – especially when working in unfamiliar roles potentially beyond the limits of your competence.

Under 100 days to go!

We’ve got less than 100 days to go until our new training programme structure is introduced. Progress+ goes live in August where we will move to a two-level programme with some great new ideas and ways of training to help us develop paediatricians who are fit for the future. I hope you all know about this landmark event. Don’t panic if you don’t as there are lots of Progress+ resources and ways of getting your head around the changes that come into being this summer. The clock is ticking – so please don’t delay in finding out the details and sharing this poster with your colleagues.

Annual review 2022

People sometimes ask me, “So what does the College actually do besides overseeing training and running exams?” I love that question, although once I start, I struggle to stop! That’s why our annual review is such a great document. It’s so important to stop and realise how much we have collectively achieved, and I feel incredibly proud paging through the document. Please take a look at our review of 2022 and drop me or the team a note if you want to find out more.

Living our values

Finally, I know how hard it can feel at the moment to maintain team morale and ensure we remain cohesive as a profession as well as with our colleagues across the wider healthcare team. It’s so easy in times of high stress to allow our standards of behaviour to slip or our choice of words to be unkind.

Our commitment as a College, and I would hope as a specialty, to equality, diversity and inclusion is the bedrock by which we function. We must guard against allowing racism in all its guises from slipping in. Kindness must underpin how we behave and I don’t think we have had a time when this is more at risk than now. Diversity is one of our greatest strengths - both in terms of the children we care for, as well as our wider teams, so let’s redouble our efforts to preserve it.

With my best wishes,

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