When were you last abroad?

Friday 26 November 2021

For many of us the answer will be ‘a long time ago’. I was last abroad in the summer of 2020, and I am sure that many people won’t have left the UK for even longer than I. In many ways the pandemic has served to diminish our overseas engagement as we work away helping our patients, yet never has something felt so universal, emphasising the need for a global view. Despite work pressures in the NHS it is vital that we do not look inward professionally, but instead actively seek to engage with colleagues in other countries, ensuring that networks thrive and the best learning is disseminated worldwide.

In radiology terms, this means staying in contact with individuals and societies in other countries and continuing to exchange ideas and collaborating on initiatives together, both now and in the future. Our nearest sister organisation is the European Society of Radiology (ESR), and its close proximity, number of countries represented and global reach mean that it is in our interests (and theirs) to work together to build radiology for the future. Many UK radiologists will have attended the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in the past, and enjoyed its wide range of material – there is truly something for everyone.

However, full engagement needs something more than attending a society’s meetings or reading its journals. We can collaborate on joint projects or pursue research together, but it is also important to remember that we can influence the governance and direction of the ESR. Many of our Fellows and members are also members of the ESR, and several have undertaken important leadership roles in the past. The significance of this, aside from helping to develop better links with Europe, is that often the best facets of UK radiological practice (for example, audit) have helped build best practice elsewhere, because UK radiologists have engaged and played their part in leading change.

Even if you are not seeking a leadership role in the ESR, the RCR offers a significant membership benefit to Fellows and members, by funding membership fees at no cost to the individual (RCR member login required).

This is worth considering, as at a minimum, it offers access to many ESR learning materials, in addition to the considerable RCR offering, through RCR Learning. ESR membership also allows reduced fees for attending ECR, and importantly confers voting and standing rights to those who join.

Hopefully you are aware of the forthcoming RCR elections, when many important roles, including who will be our next President, will be decided. There is another set of radiological elections in which to participate this winter, as senior roles in the ESR open to voting early in the new year. UK radiologists have put themselves forward as candidates, and it would be great to see at least one (hopefully all) succeed, building our influence in Europe and ensuring that the best ideas from UK practice are fed in at the highest level.

We can help our candidates succeed by voting for them in the ESR elections, and if you are not yet a member, there is still time to join in order to enjoy all the benefits of membership, including voting rights. All members in good standing who have joined by 31 December 2021 are entitled to vote in the ESR elections, so please consider joining through the RCR and using your vote. And who knows… maybe the next time you are abroad will be at the ECR?

Dr William Ramsden
Vice President, Clinical Radiology