Centenary message from the president

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BCS News

Celebrating our past, preparing for our future - BCS president Professor John Greenwood on the BCS centenary celebrations

Our big day has finally arrived! Today is the centenary of the first cardiac society in the world, formed as the Cardiac Club in 1922 and now the British Cardiovascular Society. When 16 senior doctors met on 22 April 1922, they could not have predicted that their small association would grow and become an international model for the development of standards in education and clinical practice.  For those early physicians with an interest in treating heart disease, meeting regularly across hospital and geographical boundaries, to share ideas and best practice within a specific medical specialty was relatively new.  One hundred years later, the Club’s success in spreading innovation has been echoed by the growth in cardiac societies around the world - we will be reflecting this achievement as we are joined by many of them on Tuesday 7 June for our ‘Cardiology Around the World Day’ at the centenary annual conference in Manchester.

While our founders were all doctors and largely government employees, over the past century our membership has opened up more broadly to include cardiac nurses, cardiac physiologists, scientists and other specialists working in cardiology. There are now 24 societies and groups affiliated to the BCS, representing all areas of cardiac care, reflecting the collaborative nature of cardiology and the growth of the multidisciplinary team in managing patient care.

Our main centenary celebrations will be held around our conference in June, but across the year we will be highlighting key figures, clinical developments, and the progress of the specialty across the century. The BCS Museum, led by our archivist Caroline Coats, is leading on our 100 Voices project, capturing the thoughts and experiences of senior figures in cardiology. At the conference we will present our new centenary lectureships and launch our new Digital Knowledge Hub for members, where we will house our bitesize digital education resources to support more flexible learning patterns. The conference will have a celebratory feel and a global reach, particularly on the ‘Cardiology Around the World’ Day as I mentioned above. Read more about our plans here.

As the centenary offers us an opportunity to celebrate the past, we must also look to the future. I do not underestimate the task ahead of us in addressing current challenges – we need to increase the cardiology workforce, eliminate workplace bullying, and make cardiology an attractive, supportive and flexible specialty for everyone. During 2022, we will be inviting members and particularly trainees to tell us what they want and hope for the future of cardiology, building on our 2020 Future of Cardiology report and the changing nature of practice necessitated by Covid.

Starting one hundred years ago as a meeting of a few specialists with an interest in the heart, the British Cardiovascular Society has grown into a large, diverse, vibrant organisation whose members now span medicine, nursing, physiology, clinical science and other disciplines. I am proud to lead these celebrations on behalf of a thriving, vibrant organisation that supports and develops the values of our founders. The underpinning principles of the Cardiac Club – supporting specialists, providing high quality education, sharing of good practice and fellowship – are no less valid in 2022 and will sustain us in meeting the challenges of providing great healthcare for patients today.