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New faces yet familiar challenges at 2016 HCSA AGM

The junior and consultants contracts were among the topics up for debate at HCSA’s Annual General Meeting in Stratford-Upon-Avon

A well-attended HCSA AGM saw Professor Ross Welch elected President alongside new chair Dr Claudia Paoloni, who in the process became the first woman to hold such a senior position within the association.

Both were already familiar faces at the top of the organisation, with Plymouth-based fetomaternal consultant Prof Welch previously serving as chair while Dr Paoloni, a Bristol anaesthetist, sat on the HCSA executive.

Council members at the April event also offered warm thanks to outgoing President Professor John Schofield, who gave his final address following his three-year term at the helm.

Remarking that the timing, coinciding with celebrations of William Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary in the Bard’s birthplace, was fitting amid the “unfolding drama” of the junior and consultant contracts, Prof Schofield added: “Sadly, these contracts have not been written with the skill and generosity of spirit that is manifest in Shakespeare’s writing, and certainly have not been played out with the artistry that was evident in theatre of the day.”

Alongside the progress of contract talks for both junior doctors and consultants, topics for discussion included the HCSA’s new local organisation drive, which has seen a rapid increase in Hospital Representative numbers, as well as newly established communications and policy structures.

The AGM in the town followed what was the first Council meeting for several new faces, who were welcomed by Prof Schofield as “the future of our organisation.”

As well as electing Professor Welch as the new President and Dr Paoloni as chair, the AGM passed a raft of rule changes aimed at streamlining the operations of the association.