Roadmap for improving working lives - President's blog

This week Camilla reminds members about the launch of Progress+ on 1 August (join in our 'pink' celebrations) and shares our new Thrive Paediatrics resource on best practice for transforming working lives.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, RCPCH President

My youngest daughter turned 21 last week and it was fabulous catching up with some of her school, college and university friends and finding out what they are all up to. Several of them came dressed entirely in pink having just ‘done a Barbenheimer’!

For those of you who haven’t heard of this, this is the latest craze of watching the new Barbie movie and then Oppenheimer in a single six hour sitting. Based on the opinions I canvassed from Issy’s friends, it is not to be recommended! The combination of two such different films is apparently just not good for the psyche… However, what I will say is that the Barbie trend of wearing pink is proving to be an excellent reminder for us all that Progress+ goes live on 1 August! Our new two-level training programme kicks off next week and we have loads of resources, including a helpful chart to manage potential pay progression questions, so please check out the website.

Thrive Paediatrics

I have written previously about some of the misgivings we have with the newly published NHS Long Term Workforce Plan for England. An area that is especially problematic, in my view, is the lack of a robust approach to improving retention across the entire workforce. We have been focusing on retention in paediatrics at the College for several years and our work, partly funded by the Dinwoodie Foundation, is called Thrive Paediatrics. The aim is to improve the working lives of paediatricians, underpinned by the knowledge that many of the solutions are known to different teams of paediatricians across different trusts and health boards. Our role as a College is to amplify these messages, share good practice and help to connect inspiring teams to help transform working lives for good.   

We’ve just published the RCPCH Roadmap which is a tool that highlights best practice and encompasses resources to improve working lives, professional development and wellbeing and culture. Solving the problems of NHS retention can seem like a totally impossible and overwhelming task. What I love about this Roadmap is that it helps us focus on things that are within our control, and by fixing small things, we can start a bigger programme of change as good ideas generate more good ideas and a virtuous circle is set up. I commend the Roadmap to you – it’s a short digestible read. Perhaps something to add to your poolside reading list?!    

Climate change outside of the UK

As ever, listening to the news headlines this week, my mind keeps turning to the massive implications of climate change. Our Climate Change International Workstream, led by Bernadette O’Hare and Haytham Ali, have designed a survey to try and capture some of the impacts that climate change is having on paediatrics and child health around the world. We are very interested to hear about this topic from our members who have experience of working outside the UK so that we can better advocate for necessary adaptations to deliver effective paediatric care – and ultimately better our advocacy for the rights of children to a safe and healthy environment. Your insights are invaluable and so if you have experience of working abroad, we really want to hear from you please.

Illegal Migration Bill receives Royal Assent

20 July was a very disappointing day for us and for many who care about the welfare of children seeking refuge and asylum in the UK. The Illegal Migration Bill received Royal Assent and so became the Illegal Migration Act. The stories we hear from children and young people who have taken the dangerous journeys to the UK are chilling and to then imagine that they are exposed to a hostile and unwelcoming environment in the UK feels unbearable. We, along with many other organisations, have lobbied hard on a number of aspects of this legislation, including age assessment, length of detention and access to healthcare. We will of course continue to advocate for these children, lobby to ensure that all children are afforded their rights under the UNCRC, and provide you with updates as work progresses.

National Clinical Director Roles in England

For those of us working in England, the NHS National Clinical Directors (NCD) are key roles and we currently work closely with Professor Simon Kenny who is the NCD for Children and Young People. In recognition of the breadth and complexity of services for children, a new NCD role has been created that has remit for neonatology. Please take a look at the job description and consider applying if you are a senior neonatologist. This is going to be a key role to work with Simon as well as the national maternity programme, and a wide range of stakeholders like the College, to continue to improve neonatal outcomes in England.    

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