25 February 2022

For my penultimate message, I will take a low-key approach and provide a relatively short message to preserve the vestiges of humour and good cheer with which I hope to make the final one a good one.

I am aware I am constantly moaning about the UK's COVID response, and I don't want to let you down on that one, but I will let my moan be short.

Miraculously, I have not had COVID yet.

However, our public health policy now appears not only to oblige me to get it but also - according to my freedom and personal choice - to suggest I consider passing it on with impunity to as many people as I deem fit. If I take it so personally, I can barely imagine how hurt our clinically vulnerable patients must feel.

Since no further interpretation of my comments is needed for this audience, I will turn to my second broken record topic: democracy.

Hopefully, you have all received candidate information and a personalised online voting link for this year's BSH Board of Trustees elections. If you have not, please search your inboxes and possibly even your junk email and your deleted mail for a message from Civica at [email protected]. Then, click the link and VOTE.

I have been trying to dream up a succinct PR slogan to encourage you to vote, and although none of my efforts seems to have met with official BSH approval, I will reveal a selection of them here so that you feel sorry enough for me that you will VOTE.

Here goes:

Don't be a clot. Use your ballot.

Don't be a bleeder. Choose your new leader.

Come on heme. Choose your team.

My final point for this message is another topic close to my heart: workforce.

As you are all aware, the workforce crisis is the biggest challenge faced by the NHS. We all know new buildings and innovative ways of delivering care will not even begin to address the backlog left by the pandemic, never mind moving us on for the future.

Our allies and friends, the Royal College of Physicians, are rallying organisations such as ours - and their members - to build momentum for support of the workforce amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill.

The House of Lords has supported amendments that commit to putting workforce investment and a long-term plan for workforce into primary legislation. It will be necessary for MPs to do the same to ensure that we are training enough doctors and nurses for the future. I would like all of you to consider personally writing to your MP to ask them to support this amendment. The BSH will stand with our partners on workforce and do everything we can.

I really hope to see as many of you as possible at the Annual Scientific Meeting in Manchester on 3-5 April 2022.

The meeting has a hybrid format, allowing those who cannot attend to participate. However, I strongly encourage you to consider coming in person. I am excited about the venue, Manchester Central.

Far from being an out-of-town wasteland, it's what it says on the tin: central. The venue - which operated as a rail station for 89 years - officially re-opened as G-Mex and was Manchester's primary concert venue for many years.

If viewing celebrated pieces of railway engineering and hanging out where Factory Records hosted their 1986 celebration of the 10th anniversary of punk, which included an appearance by New Order, is not enough to make you want to come, I honestly don't know what is.

Oh yes, sorry. A truly fabulous educational programme and a chance to catch up with all your dear friends and colleagues at some excellent social events.

See you in April?


  1. Culture Club "Do you really want to hurt me?", Kissing to be clever, Virgin Epic, 1982.