Professor Nick Graves, AusHSI Academic Director.
Soon after returning from three months long service leave with my young family I packed up and went back to the UK to deliver the 2017 Lowbury Lecture at the Federation Infection Societies (FIS) Conference in Birmingham.
Professor Edward Joseph Lister Lowbury lends his name to this lecture. Edward Lowbury is the doyen of modern infection control and his work on matters as fundamental as disinfection of hands and cleaning hospital floors is still pertinent today. He was also a well regarded poet and I was delighted to receive a signed copy of Mystic Bridge.
The FIS event unites all the infectious diseases societies in the UK and the audience is as heterogeneous as the topics discussed. The programme for 2017 included wound management, infections in burns, multi-drug resistant gram negative infections, faecal transplants, antimicrobial stewardship quality indicators, environmental decontamination and water management, resistance surveillance and the challenge of imported mycoses.
The title of my talk was ‘Make Economics Your Friend’. I organised the talk in four parts:
- I defined economics for the audience, which is about how to get the most value from scarce resources;
- I talked about some good and not so good methods for measuring economic outcomes;
- next, and assuming good economic measures are available, I reviewed how decision makers should use the data to make choices about competing infection prevention programmes;
- I finished by suggesting that good economics can improve the amount of health gained from infection control services, given they cannot garner resources to do everything to address risks, they must invest first in the best programmes.
Communicating the ideas of economics to doctors, nurses and other health professionals is a good thing to do. With health services really feeling the pinch and unable to meet burgeoning needs/demands they must look at their business with an eye on gaining value. But these talks have to be fun and interesting, some may say pithy, and the examples made relevant to their clinical practice.
The next day I had the far more difficult task of talking to a room of my Dad’s friends at the RAC club at Woodcote Park, about his life. He had passed away in October and I was happy to be with him at the end of his life.
The slides from the Lowbury Lecture can be viewed via this link https://prezi.com/v0qcitmn61sf/copy-of-make-economics-your-friend-latest/