If you follow my blog or VdGM activities, you will know that the 7th VdGM Forum will be held on the 28-29th January 2022. This is a two-day event where GPs early in their careers can get together, share ideas and learn together. We only got the go-ahead to run it as a face-to-face event in August this year and we have been running on full engines to get this event to work in the time that we have had to celebrate all things VdGM.
We can’t thank everyone enough for their patience in navigating our complex application system. You need to register for tickets (follow this link) and, at the end of the invoice, there is a link to the payment system. Don’t worry if you miss it – we will be sending out reminder emails every week until we receive your payment, without which your ticket will not be valid. We also realise that there have been lots of glitches with the payment system so again we appreciate your patience. If you have had any issues that need ironing out, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We did sell out at one point but then we managed to secure more tickets. Make sure you book and complete payment soon so as not to miss out!
Travel restrictions and covid safety
Since the summer, travel rules were being relaxed in the UK and travellers were only required to have an antigen test (known as lateral flows in the UK) when arriving from abroad with no enforced quarantine. However, since the announcement of omicron, the UK has taken precautions seriously by mandating PCR testing within two days of arriving, and quarantining until a negative test has been received. Mask-wearing has become mandatory again but it doesn’t feel like there is a threat of lockdown in the air.
Our visitors from abroad need to know the following (correct at time of publishing)
- PCR testing needs to be done within the first two days of arrival which means that you can do it as soon as you arrive and have the test results the folllowing day. We are working with a company at the moment to provide these tests cost-effectively and on the same day so that we can minimise quarantine time. Our UK delegates will need to do a lateral flow test before arriving.
- Masks will need to be worn in enclosed spaces
- It looks like PCR testing might be needed before travel as well. Many of these mandates have been described as temporary until we know more. If omicron does not prove as problematic as originally thought, we may return to our previous levels of testing.
We will be keeping our travel page updated so keep checking for up-to-date information.
Speakers and workshops
The theme for this year’s forum is ‘Perspectives on Primary Care’. Keynote speeches will be given by Professor Amanda Howe (RCGP President and former WONCA World President) and Professor Roger Neighbour (author of the inner consultation). You can see their bios here. There will be a range of workshops and presentations, including Leadership in General Practice, Remote Consultation Skills with Roger Neighbour, and Writing for Publication with BJGP Deputy Editor Euan Lawson. Our scientific committee is working really hard right now going through all the submissions and the full lineup will be announced soon!
VdGM is famed for our socials and, after two years of absence, we are planning to have a full social calendar to keep you busy. The formal events include drinks on Friday night with drinks and canapes and exclusive use of the pathology museum. Saturday night will be our gala dinner with the traditional Scottish dance called the ceilidh. There are ceilidh tickets (dinner not included) available for guests who are not attending the Forum. These tickets can be purchased at payment. Get your dancing shoes on because a VdGM night wouldn’t be the same without them!
Before every VdGM forum runs a pre-forum exchange, during which VdGM members can experience family medicine in the local context of the host country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exchange will be a virtual event and take place via Zoom on Wednesday 26 January 2022, from 08:30 to 12:30 GMT. Registration is FREE and open to all VdGM members, even if you cannot attend the face to face forum.
The virtual exchange is an opportunity to learn about family medicine in Scotland, meet and share experiences with colleagues from across Europe. The exchange will visit a rural island practice, a deprived inner-city practice in Glasgow and a typical practice in Edinburgh. There will be break-out rooms for discussion, and also a session comparing primary care systems across Europe.
Register here to join our exchange!
Final last words
This has been an immense feat bringing the VdGM Forum to fruition and, although we’re not over the finish line yet, I just want to give a big thank you to my wonderful team for all their hard work bringing this together around clinical work including extra pandemic planning, newborns and small children and all the other pressures that we, as family physicians early in our careers, have to deal with. That’s a big shout out to Dr Stuart Holmes, Dr Aaron Poppleton, Dr Ula Chetty, Dr Natascha Glover, Dr David Jameson and Dr Jodie Blackadder-Weinstein. Two years ago, when we were sitting down discussing bringing VdGM to the UK, I know we didn’t expect a global pandemic. We can only do what we can do and I’m really proud of you all xxx