Stefan De Hert
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I am proud to have been elected as ESA president for the next two years. I have inherited an organisation that has grown significantly in terms of its membership as well as the breadth of its activities, geographical reach, and influence in recent years. For all this we owe much to the previous Boards of Directors and especially to our Past-President Zeev Goldik. I personally would like to thank all of them for their dedication and engagement in steering our society in this successful direction.
The newly elected Board of Directors took office on January 1. I look forward to working with
- Zeev Goldik – Past President
- Radmilo Jankovic – Secretary
- Josef Wichelewski – Treasurer
- Bazil Ateleanu – Non-officer
- Marcelo Gama de Abreu – Non-officer
- Paraskevi Matsota – Non-officer
- Dan Longrois – Chair NASC
- Marc Samama – Chair Scientific Committee (to be succeeded by Andreas Hoeft 01.03.18)
- Carmel Abela – EBA President
Continuity in any organisation is essential, and during my presidency I will be building further on excellent projects that have already begun, not least for ESA to further develop to a leading global anaesthesiology society.
Our members are central to all we do
Anaesthesiology is a complex specialty and encompasses many fields such as perioperative medicine, intensive care, critical emergency medicine, and pain medicine – our position as a society with regard to intensive care medicine needs particularly close attention. Within Europe, anaesthesiology is in charge of up to 70% of all ICM beds. In critical emergency medicine, the central role of anaesthesiologists is challenged. In the upcoming years ESA will closely follow the discussions and evolutions, and together with EBA further defend the position of Anaesthesiology as the prime specialty in these fields.
Claiming ownership of the perioperative medicine portfolio implies that we must go beyond the classical view of anaesthesiologists as solely administering anaesthesia and confining their responsibilities to the operating theatre. Anaesthesiologists must take full authority for the additional responsibilities extending from the pre- through the intra- to the post-operative periods. Our challenge is to get hospital administrators and healthcare systems to provide the appropriate resources required to embrace this role, which is essential to further improve perioperative patients’ outcomes.
By broadening our membership, we also have the involvement of professionals worldwide working in research, patient care, and advocacy. Therefore, ESA will be better placed to find solutions, to challenge questions, and advance the pace of change in the best interest of patients worldwide.
Continuing to meet the needs of our members will be central to everything we do throughout my presidency. We will not only continue developing the highest quality products, services, and events but will also ensure they are delivered in the most appropriate and convenient manner, such as the development of online tools, mobile apps, and web-enabled resources. All these products are available to members via myESA.
The ESA has an important part to play in assisting the professional development of our young members who will soon take responsibility for the future success of the ESA and Anaesthesiology as a medical discipline. The ESA Trainee Committee has an important voice within the Society and I encourage all our young colleagues to connect by joining the ESA Trainee Network.
I urge all members to register on myESA to stay fully informed about all the educational materials including accredited e-learning, videos, online preparation for courses and EDAIC, our journals’ (European Journal of Anaesthesiology, Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology, and Current Opinion in Critical Care) guidelines, publications, and scientific content from all our events.
I hope that every ESA member is proud to belong to our rapidly growing international society and that you stay connected and engaged, share your experience by participating in our many activities, and benefit from the educational programmes, congresses, and meetings.
I invite you to provide your feedback on our products and services and your suggestions on how we can best meet your needs in the future via myESA . Most of all, I hope you will play an active role in the Society so it can continue to grow, thrive, and meet its objectives in the years ahead.
Collaboration: Enriching the ESA and the Community
Another important element in the success of the ESA is collaboration with partner organisations. ESA is enriched by working closely with many other societies at national, European, and world levels, bringing experts, researchers, and clinicians together on joint projects. We must learn from each other; joined forces will be more efficient and productive to reach our common goals.
The Sustainable Anaesthesia Development Project
During my presidency, I am keen for ESA to extend its work to the public arena. Hospitals across the world are looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact. The operating room has a large environmental footprint. Estimates are that 20–30% of total waste generated by the hospital comes from the operating theatre.
It is our responsibility to influence, inspire, and support hospital management to promote environmental sustainability in our hospitals and to achieve large scale transformation and change. This includes the elimination of harmful chemicals, accelerating the implementation of energy efficiency, and supporting the safe production and management of pharmaceuticals, thereby reducing their environmental impact. In addition, the promotion of zero waste policies will reduce the volume and toxicity of waste produced in the OR and implement the search for safe, disposable options as alternatives to incineration.
ESA is collaborating closely with our national society members, governmental organisations, and individuals to develop a Europe-wide Sustainability in the OR Programme. Our close cooperation with the leaders in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries will enable a collective approach to this challenge.
The second victim
Last but not least, I would like to draw attention to our own well-being as health care professionals. As anaesthesiologists we are continuously working at the edge of possible sudden serious mishaps – even beyond our own area of control. Despite many references to the aviation industry as the example, the individual patient still is not a plane that is technically controllable before each flight. The continuous work pressure – frequently interfering with family and/or our own social commitments – the daily individual involvement towards each individual patient and the real and perceived responsibilities in each daily act we perform, may put an enormous burden on our professional activities and, consequently, our own feeling of well-being. Reports of alcohol/drug abuse, burn-out, severe depression, and even suicide in (OR) health care professionals – and especially anaesthesiologists – are manifold. The time has come that we recognize and address these problems at national and international levels. During my presidency, ESA will address this worldwide problem in close collaboration with the other key players such as the national societies via NASC, EBA, and WFSA.
None of our achievements are possible without the hard work and dedication of the ESA secretarial staff and all the ESA Committee Members. I want to take this opportunity to thank them all and I look forward to excellent cooperation in the next years.
I would also like to thank each and every ESA member for their continued support and to warmly welcome all those who have joined us this year.
I wish you and your families a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2018.