28 May 2019

We have now collated delegate feedback from our 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM). By all the parameters measured, the meeting was highly rated and extremely successful for our society. One of the most liked tweets about the meeting was from a trainee thanking us for providing a crèche. Indeed, there were retweets from members of other specialty societies encouraging their own to follow BSH’s lead. We will continue to provide a crèche at future meetings, please do continue to spread the word.

One of the highlights for many delegates at the ASM was the BSH Medal Lecture on Antimicrobial Resistance by the Chief Medical Officer (England), Professor Dame Sally Davies. A lifelong champion of research to improve patient care, Sally is an inspiration to many for her numerous national and international contributions. In setting up the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), she has enabled more patients than ever before to participate in clinical research.

Some of you will know that I have been campaigning for NHS clinicians to get protected time for research. The reason is the increasing evidence that research active-NHS Trusts have better clinical outcomes. However, finding time even to recruit patients into clinical trials is difficult because of research being squeezed into ever diminishing Supported Programmed Activity (SPA) time. Moreover, we know that research involvement improves job satisfaction, which is key to recruitment and retention. There are therefore many reasons to back you up in job planning discussions with your clinical director if wish to contribute to “Best Research for Best Health”.

The CMO has come out in support of this campaign and there has been endorsement from NIHR. The BMJ have highlighted this and also highlighted our BSH Vice-President’s call for clinical trials to be much more straightforward to negotiate. Haematologists have a strong record of participating in clinical trials and BSH leadership should not shy from being upfront in expressing our concerns.

As BSH prepares for its 60th anniversary year in 2020, I am keen that we have the best possible leadership team on the BSH Board to navigate us into exciting and challenging times ahead. Elections are later on this year but you can get involved now in our Committees. As many of you stated the 2019 ASM has reignited pride in being a Haematologist, I do hope we can harness your talents and involvement within a thriving Haematology community.

With best wishes,

Professor Cheng-Hock Toh