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President's Update

September 2020

Dear IDF Member,

I hope you and your families are all well and you have survived the past unprecedented six months; what a rollercoaster of problems and events we have all had to deal with and it seems unlikely to change anytime soon. Rarely does a situation involve all aspects of our lives from our personal health, family, friends and colleagues, to our work and financial security. I won’t go over old ground but hope we can move forward together maintaining our high levels of service in the independent medical sector for the future.

The IDF has been hit financially, but we have made the necessary changes to ensure we are financially stable and this is under constant review. Our new streamlined staffing structure sees Rachel Whitelegg as Managing Director and Emily Stephens as Revalidation Director and we are well placed to meet our members’ needs

IDF was a social organisation from its outset so the past few months without events has been a challenge for us all; seeking the support of colleagues and meeting new contacts is at our very heart, so we have tried to keep connected via Zoom. We have held regular Doctors’ Mess events as well as other themed evenings which will continue and any ideas would be very welcome. Please join me for our first IDF Quiz tomorrow night 2nd September and hopefully you have now seen our invitation to contribute to the IDF Virtual Musical Evening. We are nothing without your contributions. 

Our webinar educational events have proved to be very popular and of consistently high quality allowing members from all over the country (and beyond) to attend. I would like to thank all of our excellent speakers as well as our Education Chair Dr Phil Batty and Mercedes Elliott for organising them so efficiently. There will be many more in the weeks to come as well as an Autumn Symposium on Child and Adolescent Mental Health on 10th October so keep an eye on your IDF Weekly emails to register.

We have maintained regular contact with the organisations affecting your work including the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), BMA, NHS England, GMC and CQC, and represented your concerns as well as trying to improve patient safety with better communication. Unfortunately, and inevitably, many decisions were out of our hands and the private medical sector rightly was not the country’s priority at the height of the lockdown. I know how this affected many of you but hope the situation is now improving, although far from normal. I see my own patients are returning and my referral rates have increased dramatically in the past few weeks, so I am cautiously optimistic for the near future at least.


I am also aware of events outside medicine in this turbulent summer including the Black Lives Matter Movement which we fully support, as well as other issues regarding discrimination. I would therefore like to draw your attention to the IDF Equality and Diversity Policy:

The IDF welcomes the diversity of its members. Our aim is therefore to provide a safe environment where all members are treated fairly and equally and with dignity and respect. All members are entitled to an equal opportunity to take part in all IDF activities, including sitting on the IDF Committees and Executive Board, accessing the IDF’s appraisal and revalidation services and attending or presenting at IDF events.

The IDF is committed to implementing its membership procedures in a way which promotes the fair and equal treatment of all members and eliminates discrimination on grounds of race, disability, gender, gender reassignment, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. It is the responsibility of all to ensure that they implement this policy in a manner that recognises and respects the diversity of the membership. 


We should have been preparing for our IDF Study Weekend in Stockholm in a couple of weeks, but this all had to be cancelled of course for the first time in 20 years. We have plans for 2021 including an educational weekend in Cambridge at the end of March and hopefully a study weekend in September, but it is so difficult to plan events and visit hotels in our current circumstances. Large events also represent a significant financial risk if we have to cancel which we cannot allow at present, but we will be doing our very best to enable face to face meetings in 2021 if allowed; there will however be none for the rest of this year.

Let us be upbeat. We are of course in the middle of a national crisis, but we are still here and busy on your behalf and I hope you will all thrive soon as well. Covid-19’s behaviour does seem to have changed and I am confident in our ability to overcome the challenges it presents; I sincerely hope summer 2021 will be very different to this year.

I wish you all well and please do try to attend our virtual educational and social events to see old friends and new faces.

With best wishes for the rest of the year,

Dr Neil Haughton
IDF President