Medical Society Trauma, Orthopaedics, and the Future of Medical Care Dr Jowett, Orthopaedic Registrar at the Royal London Hospital

Having given a brief history of his pathway through medicine, Dr Jowett started his talk on orthopaedics by explaining the two types of cases that are observed in his speciality: Trauma being sudden injuries to the body; elective cases being the ongoing problems found most commonly in the elderly.

With the recent prevalence of stabbings, shootings and ongoing problems with respect to motor accidents, changes in the delivery of trauma care have taken place. Dr Jowett delivered an impressive overview of these alterations, explaining how procedures have been standardised by organisations such as NICE. This has resulted in scoring systems for particular trauma cases and guidelines of how one should treat each type of injury at each level of severity. However, perhaps the biggest challenge in orthopaedics for the future will be the consequences of the ageing population. At the moment 75,000 hip fractures take place each year, costing £2 billion. With this forecasted to increase, major cuts may have to take place either in the distribution of hip replacements or elsewhere in the NHS. Mr. Prim Achan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Barts & The London NHS Trust

Mr Achan gave an intriguing insight into his own career as well as his thoughts on the future of medicine. He highlighted three major concerns: firstly how Africa is lagging behind hugely in health care; secondly, he addressed the fact that our increased spending in health has been its own worst enemy, producing more diseases which must be treated; finally he reminded us that the elderly are the most costly in terms of health and that in the future this will mean we will have to spend more on healthcare.

The last section of Mr Achan’s talk was aimed at the role of economics and leadership in health. He emphasised the need for leadership in the NHS and suggested looking towards the Japanese work ethos. He confirmed that he was in favour of change in the NHS, presenting the dictum: ‘if you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got,’ and explained that what we are getting now will not be good enough in the decades to come.

Both Dr Jowett and Mr Achan gave fascinating lectures on their proposed topics, but also a wonderful insight into the career of medicine. The lasting message that came across from them both was summed up well by Mr Achan: “The future according to some scientists will be exactly like the past, just a lot more expensive.”

Ben Patel MS (MJP)