By Stephen Brett, President, Intensive Care Society

In praise of research, trainees and interactive conferences. There is a definite feel of autumn in the air and although skies are intermittently blue, the days are a little cooler and the leaves are beginning to turn golden and fall from the trees. Naturally one’s thoughts turn to science and continuing professional development!

Those of us in Milan or reading the New England Journal of Medicine will have seen the results of yet another UK critical care trial delivering at the highest level. Tony Gordon, his trial team and countless participating investigators are to be congratulated on the timely delivery of an answer to an important clinical question. This follows hard on the heels of the publication of VANISH in the Journal of the American Medical Association over the summer. These publications along with many others, which are often supported or initiated by the Intensive Care Foundation, serve to emphasise that UK critical care research is delivering at the highest level of internationally competitive clinical science.

As noted in effusions passim, the charitable status of the ICS imposes limits on involvement in industrial disputes, but it was with relief that we learned of the decision to withdraw the threat of prolonged periods of industrial action. There were genuine concerns about a variety of potential negative impacts on patients and trainees.

We had an extremely busy week on our ICU last week, compounded by me having caught a really nasty viral “lurgy” – my daughter was our family index case. Our team of trainees were absolutely fantastic, totally dedicated to seeing a proper job done, and not leaving until everything was finished and under control. Not that I needed reminding, but once again this emphasised for me the fundamental contribution our trainees make to the care of patients and the safe delivery of intensive care.

Importantly, the strikes would possibly have had a terminally devastating effect on the ICS with the near total loss of the Annual Conference. Trusts had already begun to impose blanket study leave bans- and we believe some of these are still in place. Please contact us if you are encountering these and we will exert some “influence”.

quote2Last year I was particularly struck by the genuinely interactive nature of our sessions, with committed faculty, not sitting there doing their e-mails

Register for State of the Art 2016 today

Once again Ganesh Suntharalingam and his team have arranged a fantastic and dynamic programme consisting of a blend of the best of UK science and practice with high selected contributions from colleagues around the world. Those who attended last year can attest to the interactive and kinetic nature of the event. Ganesh and team have successfully pinched the best ideas and generated new ones, and put them together to create an amazing event; we have already had a torrent of abstract submissions (75% more than last year)Those of us who flounce around multiple international conferences making spectacles of ourselves, especially me, particularly enjoyed how Ganesh has got us to escape from the format of multiple pulpit sermons and zilch else i.e. the traditional model, which is still available elsewhere. Last year I was particularly struck by the genuinely interactive nature of our sessions, with committed faculty, not sitting there doing their e-mails, but staying to contribute to lively discussions during and after the sessions. In addition, the social media element allowed those members of the audience who might not be comfortable launching their comments or questions onto the floor in person to get into the debate, often starting things off.

As well as being a great event, the success of our meeting is essential to the future of the Society. The meeting is one of the “big things” we contribute to UK critical care. Do come along and participate; regardless of how good the programme is, it’s no use without delegates. To paraphrase Lord Kitchener’s recruiting poster: Your Society Needs You!


Early bird is still on

State of the Art 2016: Register before 24th of October and pay only £450 as a consultant member for 3 days or £165 for 1 day. Find a full list of prices and the programme on the website.

Register now

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