Letter from the Senior Vice President and Secretary General/CEO

Dear colleagues,

At the outset, may I say that I am delighted that Professor Sir Jonathan Asbridge DSc (hc) has accepted the Inaugural Presidency of the new Society. His experience in the field of healthcare organisation, accreditation, reconfiguration and regulation in the UK, across Europe and indeed at the international level, is second to none and I have no doubt that the Society will benefit immeasurably from his tenure as President.

The first action of the Society has been to put firmly in place its general architecture and infrastructure and to implement the various systems of governance that will be essential for its success. With the President and Senior VP and the 4 Vice Presidents in place, together with 20 of the 80 Special Interest Group (SIG) chairmen so far appointed, the Society is currently considering applications for the chairmanship, deputy chairmanship and membership of those of the Society’s Special Interest Groups which currently lie vacant. The Society continues to invite formal applications for Ordinary Membership. Colleagues wishing to apply for ordinary membership or to be considered for SIG leadership roles should write in the first instance to me (andrew.miles@pchealthcare.org.uk) requesting an Application Form and Notes of Guidance (see pages 39-40). As the President has already indicated, the SIGs have primary responsibility for driving forward development and debate within the specific fields of study with which they will be tasked and they are therefore vital to the ability of the Society to fulfil its mission.

Some of the senior colleagues with whom we consulted during the early conceptual building of the Society added greatly to the number of SIGs, whereas others understandably asked: ‘Why so many SIGs?’ ‘Is there not a risk of significant overlap between some of them as a consequence?’ ‘Will such a large number of SIGs not fragment, rather than consolidate, a coherent understanding of PCH?’ In weighing up the ‘pros’, but also the ‘cons’ of reducing the number of SIGs, it was judged that a ‘mergers exercise’ would in reality function to reduce the overall academic output of the SIG infrastructure, by increasing the tasked workload of merged SIGs beyond what could reasonably be expected of them. Nevertheless, the President and I are acutely aware that sustained efforts will be needed to ensure cross-collaboration and dynamic communication between the individual SIGs, so that the inter-relationship of their various areas of interest is as fully considered as the specific area of study itself. It is for this reason that we have decided to make each individual SIG Chairman a full Member of Academic Council of the Society, so that cross-communication is ensured and that, in addition, SIG Chairmen can contribute actively to the governance of the Society itself. The Society has adopted a (primary) diagnosis-related structure for the SIGs. Co-morbidities if or when present will be considered integrally, not ignored.

It is with direct reference to the proper governance of the Society that a second early action of the Society will be to set in place proper preparations for democratic elections. Academic and clinical societies work best - and authentically - when they function as democratically constituted bodies of scholars, working in accordance with the provisions of a formal Constitution and where the art of leadership of executive officers is evidenced in delegation, encouragement, enablement and successor planning. The Society will therefore publish its proposals for a one-member, one-vote Election immediately following the completion of infrastructure and governance implementation, so that in this way newly elected Officers and others can be fully functional by January 2017 at the very latest.

A third early action of the Society has been to establish an on-going Publications Programme. Here, several initiatives have already been been agreed and include: (a) A monthly Bulletin of the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare as the formal mechanism of communication of the Society with its established members and for the interest and use of those actively considering membership at the appropriate level; (b) An official journal, the European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare (EJPCH), as the Society’s principal organ of much wider communication with clinicians, academics, policymakers, politicians and health service managers across Europe and internationally. The EJPCH will also publish major special Supplements deriving from the Society’s European Conferences; (c) A major, 50+ chapter academic textbook on how to study, practise and teach PCH; (d) A major Series of diagnoses-specific clinical handbooks designed specifically to provide practising clinicians and students in training with practical guides on how to achieve person-centered clinical care in the context of the major chronic illnesses as well as companion such handbooks on non-clinical, but health services research related issues; (e) A major textbook on how to increase the person- centeredness of undergraduate clinical education and (f) A major Series of new clinical condition- specific quarterly journals aimed at enhancing communication within clinical condition-specific areas of person-centered care study.

A fourth early action of the Society has been to commence the planning of its first Annual Conference and first Annual Awards Ceremony. We aim to invite applications for consideration of the Society’s four major awards (The Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals) in late January 2014, with the successful recipients presented with their respective Medal and monetary prize and Certificate by the President in a formally robed Academic Ceremony prior to the Conference Dinner as part of the 3 & 4 July 2014 First Annual Conference of the Society in Madrid at which the Medical and Healthcare Press will be present.

At the time of writing, the Websites for the Society and its Journal are being finalized and their electronic addresses will be advertised shortly.

Finally, I urge all colleagues, of whichever clinical discipline as well as healthcare managers, health policy-makers and also members of the pharmaceutical and healthcare technology industry and also expert patients and patient advocacy organisations, to join the new Society as soon as you are able. We cannot drive forward the development of excellence in clinical care without you. With the President, I look forward to welcoming you into membership of the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare.

With kindest, collegial regards, I am and remain,

Yours sincerely

Professor Andrew Miles MSc MPhil PhD DSc (hc)
London United Kingdom and Madrid, Spain