What a few weeks it’s been. This period has been tough so it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the significance of the various vaccine announcements these last few weeks. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, the next few months will be hard, but it seems almost certain we will, in the Spring, begin a gradual exit from the worst of the pandemic. While there is much to prepare, and much to get through first, the prospect of a return to some sort of normality is now likely. Psychologically I think this boost was badly needed and I must say that I was left feeling in awe of the incredible achievements by our colleagues and partners in life sciences. While many aspects of pandemic handling have incredibly tough and contentious, the speed and collaboration of the science will in a few short months change the world again.
...a serious commitment to tackle health inequalities and shore up services for children and families
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (it is my job...), I remain deeply concerned about what this post-pandemic world will be like for this generation of children and young people. The Government speaks regularly of levelling up the country and we support that ambition, but it will be impossible without a serious commitment to tackle health inequalities and shore up services for children and families. We know from State of Child Health 2020 that health outcomes for children were already pretty poor, and there is now a real risk that the multi-pronged impact of the pandemic will simply scar and hold back a whole generation. Clearly there is an appetite that we as paediatricians speak up more regularly and strategically on these issues and I think we have shown that when we do, we can make a difference and people pay attention. Next year will be vital in terms of making the case for children and young people – there is lots of work to do.
Closer to home I am delighted to see that voting is now open for my successor and a Registrar to take over from Mike Linney. Each of the candidates appears in a video produced by the College to share some of their priorities (watch the Registrar candidate videos and the President candidate videos on our website), and we’ve also published two podcasts with questions directed by children and young people. I really enjoyed listening to the podcasts which are a lovely mix of the serious and the light-hearted (one of the questions from CYP was ‘if you had to be a biscuit, which biscuit would you be’). For the record I would be an Anzac of course – a slightly bizarre mix of oats, butter and coconut that you probably have to grow up with to love. Anyway, there are two slates of fantastic people running for these important jobs. Do interrogate their priorities and most importantly, If you're eligible to vote, please exercise your vote by 9 December using your electronic or postal ballot.
That’s all for now
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