So long, and thanks for all the fish

For five years in his role as RCPCH Vice President, David has championed paediatric training and trainees. In this message for members – who bring the quality, commitment and challenge the College needs – he expresses gratitude to all he’s worked with.
Dr David Evans walking by a sandy beach with a clear sky and blue waves

Camilla is away this week and I have been given the opportunity of authoring a blog, my last as Vice President for Training & Assessment.  

I am currently listening to the gentle sound of raindrops on canvas – camping nowadays often comes with wifi, electric hook-ups and decent showers. Previously minimalistic, the aging process has convinced me of these modern benefits (although I can hear several of you shouting why not just hire a cottage?!).

I know many of you are working hard at the moment. We seem to be on the verge of an RSV surge (which we ran a webinar about this week), on the background of: increased non-COVID-related visits by children to emergency departments; another COVID surge (with, hopefully, not the previous rates of death); NHS hospitals trying to catch up with the backlog of delayed treatments; a workforce that is fatigued and wondering when (or if) normality will return.

With all this in mind, it is difficult to take holiday without feeling guilty.  

I was struggling to think of a suitable “farewell title”. For those of you unfamiliar with the great Douglas Adams’ work, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy". Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Earth, before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

The RCPCH is in good hands… because of the quality and commitment of you, the members

The RCPCH building in Theobalds Road is currently being renovated and, whilst not quite a demolition, this should give members and staff a facility that is more suited to working in the post-COVID (post-Hancock) era, as we enter our 25th year as a Royal College. The development will not be limited to physical facilities, and a digital rethink is planned to help develop the increasing range of electronic resources (conference, exams, learning platforms, etc.) but, as yet, no hyperspace bypass.

As I step down, I know the RCPCH is in good hands. Not just because of the quality of the leadership team but mostly because of the quality and commitment of you, the members. Many of the most important imperatives that the RCPCH must address have arisen directly from members’ challenge: for example, the RCPCH’s response to equality, diversity and inclusion issues, the problems children face as a result of climate change and the importance of being kind to one another and one’s self.

Wait a minute, it’s stopped raining, the sun is shining, children are playing... It’s time to emerge from this rain-enforced missive and enjoy the delights of the skylarks once more above the moorlands and Maen Ceti of Cefn Bryn (OS Grid Ref: SS 49146 90553).I will end with heartfelt thanks to all I have the pleasure of working with in my last five years as VP, I hope that I will continue to see and collaborate with many of you in the future, because, as you all know, our work never truly ends.

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