It is a great honour to take up the role of DPD for the RNZCUC, and I wanted to write to our members to introduce myself and talk briefly about what you can expect from me going forwards.

Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to the departing DPD, Dr Afraz Adam, who had the enormous task of creating the new role and getting a large number of projects off the ground.  His hard work has created a clear road map for the future direction of this job, and I am grateful to him for handing over a steady ship.

I have been in NZ a little over ten years, having grown up in the UK.  My wife, who is now a palliative care specialist, got a job at Waikato Hospital, so it was for this reason that we found ourselves in Hamilton.  My locum agent, upon hearing that I was stuck between continuing to work in ED and going into general practice, found me a job at an urgent care clinic and that was my lightbulb moment.  I had found the career path and speciality that had been eluding me.

There is much to love about urgent care.  I enjoy the broad scope of practice that means we are always learning.  I enjoy the teamwork within the clinics and the supportive environment that exists on the floor of an urgent care.  And of course, I enjoy the flexibility of the work and the wonderful work life opportunities that an urgent care career offers.  But a huge part of why working in urgent care is so satisfying is that there is a fellowship training programme and post fellowship recertification through the RNZCUC.  Not only does this help define what we do, but it helps define us as a community of clinicians and therefore fosters pride in our job, our workplace and our colleagues.  Urgent care is the best job in medicine, in my opinion, and I am passionate about helping to continue its development here in NZ.

Anyway, that is enough about me.  Let’s talk about what the plans are for the DPD.

The most significant project on the horizon is the recertification process for our Fellows and registrars.  This will need to be altered from its current form in line with guidance from the MCNZ, outlined in their strengthening recertification document.  This is an opportunity for us to craft a process that works with you, and not against you, enabling the process of CPD to be an enjoyable and fulfilling one.   We will be forming an initial pass at the new recertification programme and will be sharing this with you all in due course in an interactive session that will enable you all to give feedback and help craft the sort of system that works for you.

There are several other projects, most that tie into the recertification process, that fall under the DPD purview.  One of the largest of these is the Bootcamp.  Last year we held the College’s first conference in the form of a one-day, fast-paced bootcamp, and this was a huge success.  Due to the enormous time and effort that went into developing this, it was decided that it would be best to hold a biennial event, and in the intervening years create a virtual equivalent.  As you are all acutely aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has since prevented all the face-to-face conferences this year, so the virtual bootcamp idea has even more relevance and necessity.  You will hear more about this in another email.

Another key part of this role is to lead the development of post-Fellowship training.  This will be, in part, guided by what the community feel is needed, but having further training and guidance in some of the optional roles our Fellows can pursue, like running fracture clinics or becoming a Medical Director, is something the College feels is important.

Ensuring our Fellows have access to a wide range of relevant and interesting CME opportunities is a priority for me and we will try to make as much of this as possible at a College level.  In addition to the Bootcamp, the podcast will be continuing, as will the online quizzes and we will be exploring creating regular webinars.  We hope to use the website’s forum facility, premiered for COVID-19, to allow a platform for discussion between members from all over the world.

There is a part of this role that will involve establishing and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders and promoting urgent care to the wider world.   I look forward to helping promote our speciality, raise the general awareness of urgent care and the incredible job our clinics do day in and day out.

Whilst part of this job is overseeing Fellows’ performance, it is a supportive role, not a punitive one, allowing you all to enjoy practising urgent care medicine and to enjoy learning new things and bettering yourselves.  The MCNZ describe the recertification process as being therapeutic, not diagnostic.  Rather than just identifying the problem, we are here to support you all to improve any areas of weakness.

In all aspects of this job, I hope to foster clear lines of communication between our Fellows and the College, enabling us to hear your thoughts and ideas, and for you to clearly understand all the requirements of recertification and professional development.  I look forward to us all working together to develop our speciality of urgent care.