CSO conference at a glance

Hello and welcome back to the 3rd post in our healthcare science week series! As I’m sure many of you know, it was the Chief Scientific Officer’s 2019 conference last week. Unfortunately, no one at STP perspectives was able to attend. However, we’ve been lucky enough to receive some feedback about the conference from someone who not only attended, but took part in a panel session as well. This piece, written by Ang Davies, a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director at the University of Manchester, gives an overview of some of the themes of the conference as well as some really valuable learning points that she took away- that I think as trainees we should pay particular attention to!

“Last week I attended day 1 of the Chief Scientific Officer’s Annual Conference – focused on ‘Leading the Future – 2030’ #LTF2030, a great chance to meet others involved in healthcare science and colleagues working nationally to enable the future of the NHS. The focus of the meeting was thinking ahead to how healthcare science will enable the delivery of the NHS long term plan, which incidentally there is a call for views regarding potential legislative changes which will help to enable its delivery.

For those like me who are not familiar with the conference; this is an annual event hosted by Dame Professor Sue Hill, the Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England, who is head of the healthcare science workforce. The event includes keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops and also the prestigious Healthcare Science Awards. I was asked to participate in the Enabling the Future panel discussion, joined by Angela Douglas (Deputy Chief Scientific Officer), Rebecca Middleton (Genomics England Patient Participation Panel) and Professor Wendy Tindale, Consultant Clinical Scientist Sheffield Teaching Hospital. We were each asked to consider which one thing we would like to see in the future of the NHS. With the conference focused on digital transformation, my response was to enable more effective and efficient sharing of patient data. Be this within departments, Trusts or with industry, so long as the patient is at the centre of the decision-making and appropriate governance and consent models are in place. There are ways of doing this– we are currently investigating a blockchain-based dynamic consent model that gives control to the patient.

The “Enabling the Future” panelists

So how to enable this vision, when we struggle to share our health records between two GP practices? If we are to make these kinds of leaps forward we need to take brave and new approaches to working, it feels like a team science approach could be a way forward, leveraging the skills and expertise of diverse professionals transecting the health sector. In my example bringing together informaticians, IT specialists, software engineers, clinicians, patients and industry, working across disciplinary boundaries, sharing expertise and knowledge and working in an agile manner to ensure that electronic patient records systems are designed with all potential end users in mind.

The day including a fantastic array of speakers including Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Acting Director of Primary Care for NHSE England, who gave an insight into the future of primary care and how digital transformation may impact on the role of primary care clinicians. One example she cited was of a patient arriving with the entire exome on a memory stick –this will become more common-place as patients take advantage of direct-to-consumer testing. Dr Liz Mear from the Innovation Agency described some of the innovations she has worked on as part of her work with the Academic Science Networks, including a project to recruit Atrial Fibrillation ambassadors across the North West to aid in stroke prevention.

Finally to finish, I took away some great quotes from a workshop led by Kiran Chauhan, from NHS Improvement, discussing how we increase the diversity of representation of professions at senior Trust board levels. This included perspectives of other senior clinicians including: “get involved beyond your remit and support your organisation more widely”, “find your passion and get on and deliver” and finally my personal favourite “be bold and gate-crash politely”. So in terms of the future of healthcare science: create collaborations, learn and work together with other specialisms and clinical colleagues and my final message is embrace team science!”

Thank you, Ang, for writing this for us, it sounded like a really insightful day and I’m now even more gutted I missed it. I’ll definitely be looking to attend next year!

Author: Jes

I am a trainee clinical bioinformatician working at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. I am passionate about increasing awareness and discussion about healthcare science and particularly the routes into the field.

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