Well....... expert speakers, a fabulous historical venue and warm, generous hospitality from the British Medical Association kicked off the extremely interesting and informative first 2014 meeting of TFPL's Special Interest in Healthcare group last night. And a first: someone else with my unusual surname, so you can guess what we talked about! I have never met anyone called Maggs in a seminar I've attended before - so highly memorable in more ways than one.
Predicting the future is always risky - but despite the title of "Future Perfect" none of the three speakers - Anne Brice, Ruth Carlyle and Geraldine Clement-Stoneham - appeared daunted. They rose to the challenge, making us think hard as to whether we agreed with the opportunities and challenges they felt were becoming important - and if not, what would we consider more important ourselves. (Please don't hesitate to contact me for a copy of the report from this meeting, where the challenges and opportunities are outlined in more detail). Of course, the health and social care sectors are never given enough time to work through major changes and allow them to "bed in" and assess whether the originally set objectives have been achieved (or not), prior to another round of externally-inflicted change – but that doesn't mean there isn't a "golden thread" of evolution of the information professional's role across the piece.
The Health SIG Advisory Board also made us do some work, with table discussions around what we thought were new and emerging themes; how we think these will change ways of working and what skills do we have and perhaps more importantly, what are missing, to meet them. Being new to KIM - but not healthcare – I was impressed by the range of the debates we considered in what was quite a short space of time. But we did manage to touch on at least one controversial topic, which I think could be summed up as: "what have the KIM associations ever done for us".
I found the discussions generated as interesting as the presentations themselves, although it was a shame there wasn’t more time for questions. However, this was addressed by constructive audience feedback that the start time of 5.30pm is quite difficult for many delegates - and with the BMA confirming that a later leaving time is possible, if booked in advance. So subject to approval from the group as a whole I'm looking forward to more convenient meeting times in the future, with longer to spend in stimulating conversations.
Finally, I do feel I have to comment on the Donald Black room: it is possibly the most beautiful small venue room I have ever attended a seminar in! Designed by Lutyens, and Grade II listed, there's an ornate arch at one end where the Chair and Speakers sit, and the "gable" end wall as such is where slide presentations are projected (on to). The arch is actually part of the original art deco ceiling of the Great Hall and provides a unique frame to the speakers and presentations.
And, given the agreement at the meeting around the importance of collaboration across silos moving forward I loved the telling quote Anne Brice left us to ponder on our way home: "the NHS is made up of a series of tribes, connected only by complaints about parking"! (my exclamation mark!)