Key developments for the Faculty of Forensic & Legal Medicine (FFLM) in the last quarter include becoming a member of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and the first meeting of the Specialty Advisory Committee in Forensic & Legal Medicine of the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board chaired by Professor Carol Seymour who will succeed me in May 2017 as President of the Faculty. These initiatives are tremendously important in further raising the status of the Faculty and assist in our aim of creating a formal specialty of Forensic & Legal Medicine. The FFLM is tremendously busy with many initiatives and is already far advanced in the preparation of the 2017 Annual Conference in Belfast with a broad theme of ‘Post-Conflict Issues in Forensic & Legal Medicine’. We have a fantastic group of speakers lined up so far. For those who want to find out a bit more about what practitioners in forensic & legal medicine do, a complete first series of FFLM webinars is now available to view, for a very modest fee, payable online on the Vimeo channel. In the relatively near future we’ll see the publication of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody, chaired by Dame Elish Angiolini. We await the recommendations with interest.
We have worked closely with Dr Gillian Tully, the Forensic Science Regulator to highlight the need for minimum standards across all aspects of healthcare and forensic science. We have jointly written to all Police & Crime Commissioners to inform about these standards. On a particularly uplifting note the new Academic Dean of the FFLM and myself joined Frances Cranfield, President of the Clinical Forensic & Legal Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine at the RSM Career Fairs where our stand attracted a great deal of attention from a range of young doctors, undergraduates, and those considering medicine as a career. A couple of images of the team in action are shown below.
Have been working with colleagues on an interesting research study looking at complaints against healthcare professionals working in police custody and sexual assault referral centres. This has provided some fascinating data and whilst awaiting peer-review in the hope of publication have now extended the research to look specifically at the role of healthcare professionals in relation to deaths in police custody. After a longish period of gestation the 2nd volume of Current Practice in Forensic Medicine – jointly edited by John Gall and myself has been published. It seems to have been well received so far.
Forensic medical examiner work continues to be busy and challenging but the clinical contact with patients remains a welcome and fulfilling diversion from some of the less fulfilling, but essential routine work in other areas. Many patients have issues with mental health and drug and alcohol abuse. For those who are not familiar with some of these problems, a new film ‘A Streetcat Named Bob’, gives a compelling (although slightly sanitised) and charming account of the life of someone trying to turn their life round. Based on the true story of James Bowen and his cat Bob, it is truly uplifting.
I spent a useful day at University College, Dublin where I am Extern Examiner for the Graduate Diploma in Forensic Medicine. Was a pleasure as ever to catch up with Professor Denis Cusack. It would be great if there were more, similar departments in England and Wales. Was delighted to Chair the 10th Anniversary Conference of the United Kingdom Association of Forensic Nurses and Paramedics at Staffordshire University. A fantastic day with excellent speakers and a fitting decade celebration to one of our clinical partners. Below is a picture of UKAFN President Jennie Smith rallying the troops. A great day, full of promise for the future.
Had an enjoyable evening at the launch of the new book Law of Shipping Mortgages co-authored by one of my oldest friends David Osborne, of Watson Farley & Williams. Good to catch up with David and old school friends, business and economics journalist Nils Blythe and media lawyer Colin Howes. Below is a pic of the Old Ipswichians 50 years or so on. Somewhat difficult to believe where the years have gone.
Finally a sad time, saying goodbye to Treacle our 12 year old Labrador. A special, loyal and loved friend and companion, seen below between her two daughters, Honey and Marmite just a couple of weeks ago.