State of the Art. Industrial action, sepsis, and social media: a heady brew

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Dear colleague

With only a couple of weeks to go, a few thoughts in the run-up.

  • Standard registration closes on Monday 23rd, after which the late registration fee kicks in.  I am a habitual offender when it comes to being late for this sort of thing, but I find it makes both your spouse and your accountant very angry when the bank statement comes in.  Register now, and save yourself some earache.
  • Industrial action: the second proposed strike date is on Tuesday Dec 8th, which is the date of most of our oral presentations and many other trainee-focussed sessions.  Mark Porter has confirmed by email to Stephen Brett within the last 24 hours that doctors on study leave are not expected to take part in industrial action (this is distinct from local educational activities within job plans).  The BMA’s 2012 FAQs state “Where industrial action takes place during a member’s study/professional leave, the employer can be expected to treat them as on leave and not participating in the action”.  Mark tells us that updated FAQs will be out shortly, but we do not expect major changes to this element. The ICS response to the strike vote is here
  • The latest version of the programme is on the website (check out the PDF for latest adjustments), and is looking pretty good – if we do say ourselves.  The speakers have been reminded on your behalf to focus on the current and future clinical relevance of their subjects (and to be prepared to disclose their own actual practice, where the data is equivocal).  You will able to quiz them by microphone and Twitter in every session, and to learn from the sessions you miss as well as those you attend through rapid access to slides and audio recordings. 
  • Our opening plenary features our very own ‘Sepsis Six’ of Derek Angus, Rinaldo Bellomo, Ron Daniels, Claudia Dos Santos, Peter Pickkers, and Tim Walsh, chaired by the inimitable Mervyn Singer.  They are there for you to put them on the spot.  Do campaigns, bundles, and Government-mandated guidelines actually work? (one for Ron and Peter).  What about antibiotic resistance?  Is there any point still talking about sepsis, when we can’t seem to get positive trial results, or should we just give up and stick to the basics?  Come along, bring your inner cynic, and ask the sort of questions you can’t send in to a journal. 
  • In a new twist, we’ll also be taking questions for the sepsis panel in advance.  In fact we had the idea long before Jeremy Corbyn and his new-style PMQs (although we did steal it from Question Time).  Tweet us questions now, using #asksepsis as a tag.  You will also be able to email them to  Selected questions will be attributed, if you would like us to (include your name if so).  
  • If medical social media is a closed book to you, another of our plenary sessions will aim to show you what it’s about.  How do you keep on top of the vast array of published information?  Have you wondered how your juniors seem more clued up than you on some topics? Do you know where to go online for headlines, thoughtful interpretation, discussion?  Or is it all a waste of time?  Come and find out, from Anna Batchelor, Jonathan Downham, Mark Forrest, Rob Mac Sweeney, Steve Mathieu, Steve Webb and Adrian Wong.  One of them is FICM Dean, several of them run leading educational websites, and one of them will be in a bow tie.  Come along, and figure out which one is which.

See you there!

Ganesh Suntharalingam

State of the Art Programme Lead