Happy New Year! I hope you have all had a restful festive season, and that the alcohol has not wiped the hard drive too much (did I use this feeble joke last year? I really can’t remember). We start the year in our new College, so on pp30–31 we have provided a photo montage of some of the highlights of the building’s key areas, including your new members’ room.
In this year of uncertainty, one thing is for sure – we remain committed to doing the best we can for our patients. To this end, we start the year with a Bulletin theme on Quality and Safety, on pp5–17. We introduce our new Clinical Director for this area, Dr Berenice Lopez, and have covered a range of topics across pathology. Our outgoing Clinical Director for Clinical Effectiveness, Dr Bridget Wilkins, discusses continuous quality improvement and the intriguingly titled School for Change Agents programme. From Getting It Right First Time, through our new Key Assurance Indicators, to a proposal for an online platform for safe learning from errors – it’s all here.
We introduce you to our small but highly effective Professionalism department on p26. Their work is closely linked our patient safety agenda and they’ll be collaborating with Dr Berenice Lopez and many others to support members to deliver the best patient care, patient safety and quality of pathology services.
We are proud to report on recent announcements from government on medical examiners. Go to p32 to read about our role as the lead royal medical college for medical examiners, and how the posts will help improve patient safety and error reporting.
Talking of errors, we here are not immune. On p67, we need to correct a couple of errors in the July Bulletin, spotted by an eagle-eyed retired Fellow (thank you). Because we don’t wish to become known as the Blutlein, please would all contributors check their copy carefully, and we will do the same in the publishing team.
Due in part to the recent College move, we asked members to use our wonderful updated resources to develop their own events for National Pathology Week. The reports on pp18–21 are just a sample of what you achieved, so many thanks to you all from the Public Engagement team. You have also told us that you’d like to hear more about what we are doing to influence our parliamentarians, so on p27 Janine Aldridge from our Media and Public Affairs team summarises our recent political engagement. There is a lot going on all the time – to keep up-to-date do read the President’s editorial on p3 and also her monthly newsletter, which can be found in your inbox.
The International team continue their valuable work (pp35–41), hosting a delegation from Iraq and visiting Ukraine and Jordan to establish joint projects. We have also provided a lecturer to Madagascar – possibly the first time lemurs have appeared in the Bulletin.
Our Working Smarter section (pp42–45) usually provides highly useful food for thought, and this time we have excelled. The description of a ‘one-stop shop’ in Wales for rapid cancer diagnosis was recently mirrored in a report by Sir Mike Richards (although he did not specifically mention pathology…).
We have a pressing need to generate a long-term pipeline of pathologists of the future. So, in this Bulletin, we have largely devoted the ‘trainee’ section to our activities with undergraduates (pp46–51). We introduce our new undergraduate leads and report on another successful summer school. We also include the work of a haematology colleague to engage undergraduates with the diagnostic laboratory.
On the subject of haematologists, we celebrate international awards given to Professor Victor Hoffbrand and Dr Paula Bolton-Maggs – two each, in fact (pp55–56). We congratulate them both on well-deserved recognition from peers globally.
Finally, I report on one of the best conferences I have ever attended – the meeting on disruptive technologies, organised by the College (pp27–29). I spent two days marvelling at the game-changers that are either already with us, or which are set to transform the ways we work over the next decade. Don’t worry, you will not be out of a job, but your tasks will evolve, as they have always done. Which brings us full circle to patient care – the unchanging heart of everything we do.