Changing the conversation about health

Ten years of the College of Medicine: We celebrate a decade of huge achievement

The College of Medicine is celebrating its tenth birthday and, on November 12th, its Chair, executives and members threw an almighty Zoom party to mark a decade that has seen social prescribing, which remains at the very core of the College’s ambition, arrive in mainstream healthcare.

Led by College of Medicine Chair Dr Michael Dixon, those logging on (with a tipple of their choice in hand) heard that the College was founded in a meeting at the Imperial War Rooms in October 2010 by some of the most influential names in modern healthcare – and how it’s gone from strength to strength in the years since.

A celebration: The College of Medicine invited executives and members to a Zoom party to mark ten years since the College was founded in October 2010
College of Medicine Chair Dr Michael Dixon said the College can be proud of its achievements during its first decade, including helping to bring social prescribing into mainstream healthcare

Dr Dixon described how the College was officially launched with an exuberant float at the Lord Mayor’s Show in November 2010 and recalled the achievements chalked up in the last decade.

He said: “What have we done in our last ten years? Have we achieved what we set out to do? I feel we have. Social prescribing was unheard of when we began and it’s now almost common parlance.”

He referenced key events that have helped to bring social prescription from the fringes of healthcare, including the establishment of a Social Prescribing Day (March 12th), the introduction of a national student forum and getting social prescribing on to the syllabus at UK medical schools.

Dr Dixon also offered his deepest thanks to College of Medicine Chief Officer Amanda King, saying the College ‘simply wouldn’t exist without her’.

Dame Donna Kinnair referenced notes she’d made when the College was founded in October 2010, saying she’d penned: ‘It was becoming ever more common for people to seek out information about their health problems and try remedies most conventional healthcare professionals knew nothing about.’

Speakers celebrating the College included Dame Donna Kinnair, Sir Sam Everington, Mr Michael Dooley, Professor Sir Cyril Chantler, with a comical musical finale – a Marilyn-esque rendition of Happy Birthday – offered up by Dr Harry Brunjes and his wife Jacquie.

Recounting the mindset that first led to the College’s creation, Dame Donna, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, told those listening that personalised care was fundamental to the College’s beginnings.

 Happy birthday! Founding College member Dr Harry Brunjes, Chairman of The English National Opera, and his wife Jacquie offered a Marilyn-esque birthday greeting

Dame Kinnair explained: “As we thought about it, as we went to set it up, it was becoming ever more common for people to seek out information about their health problems and try out remedies that most conventional healthcare professionals knew nothing about.

“We went on to think about personalisation of care, to call for a better understanding of our patients’ beliefs, wishes and sense of self so that we could support their ability to lead the lives they want to live and, at the same time, offer them our professional knowledge and expertise.”

She added: “It’s always stayed with me as I’ve associated with this wonderful College…the ultimate goal is not to supplant modern medicine but rather to make appropriate use of validated non-conventional approaches.’

Mr Michael Dooley, College of Medicine Treasurer (pictured centre) said that the College must now “work in a harmonic way to help improve the health of every individual”

Sir Cyril Chantler praised the College for its focus on complementary medicine and urged more support for research, saying: “The role of the College of Medicine is to promote complementary medicine and holistic medicine and the promotion of health.”

He added: “I have no doubt whatsoever that if practised responsibly, there is plenty of evidence of benefit to patients. The College is important, not only to promote, but also to police practice and to ensure as far as possible that safety is a prime concern.”

Mr Michael Dooley said the College’s first ten years left it perfectly placed to ‘build a better future’, saying: “I think we’ve got to learn from the College to respect the environment, to work in a harmonic way to help improve the health of every individual with equality – we must respect all views.”