I am sure that all members of the British Institute of Radiology will appreciate how great an honour and privilege it is to take over the role of President. I was delighted to see so many past officers, present members and colleagues attend my inauguration ceremony on 23 September.
Over the past few years, there have been major changes at the BIR. When I first took on the role of BJR Commissioning Editor, the organisation was still at Portland Place and there were considerable worries about its financial future viability. The membership was waning, the building was difficult to maintain and with the evolution of communications and forms of education a major rethink was required. I take my hat off to the work that the President, Stephen Davies, and his Council of trustees undertook during this period.
They took the radical move to find more appropriate accommodation, thereby releasing the large amount of capital the organisation held in the building. Andrew Jones took over as President and led the move of the whole organisation to the new fit-for-purpose offices, located in Farringdon.
All of the work that has been done during Andrew’s presidency around the revision of committees, communications and BJR has placed us in an excellent position to move forward. The launch of special interest groups (SIGs), evolved from the formal committee structure, is enabling better communication with our members and this will lead to our having teams that can give expert specialist advice to questions raised both inside and outside the organisation.
The BIR’s major activities are education and publishing and both of these continue in the traditional way but the electronic world is changing both and our online presence has been enhanced by a communications team, the new and improved website and investment in software, and in addition the professional education team now includes two e-learning technologists.
An accreditation process has been established which will demonstrate that an educational activity approved by the BIR will have met its standards and will be of a high academic and educational value. We plan to develop diploma courses and we are targeting topics that will be of educational interest to a range of health professionals, with the first two being in musculoskeletal ultrasound and radiation protection as it relates to the use of fluoroscopic equipment. The diploma courses may involve some educational activities provided by other organisations and in due course, with their agreement, we will apply our accreditation process to any who wish to be part of the exercise. That’s just the start and we welcome your suggestions for additional subjects, so do get in touch with your ideas.
BJR is a prestigious publication with an improved impact factor, continuous publication, vastly improved submission to publication times and a new international editorial board. It is a great pleasure to see the availability of BJR|from the beginning, the online archive of the world’s oldest radiological journal dating back to 1896. I recommend to you all that you search through some of the back numbers at the turn of the 19th century which provide a fascinating insight into the development of the radiological sciences. From old to new and I look forward to the launch of our forthcoming online open access BJR|case reports journal.
My targets for my period as President are to: get the diplomas up and running; ensure the accreditation process works well; expand the online educational material available; enhance the benefits of membership; and support the continued development of our journals. However, at the same time I would very much like to see the BIR having a much greater presence in national and international bodies, becoming a source of advice on matters that relate to the radiological sciences covering all the disciplines that we represent. I am sure that this process will lead to a continued increase in the membership and it is incredibly gratifying to see many more people with a passion for radiology, radiation oncology and all the allied sciences joining our organisation. You are all very welcome and I look forward to meeting many of you over the next two years.