"improving intensive care in Scotland"

The history of the SICS


The Beginning…

The Scottish Intensive Care Society was founded in Perth in January 1991 by intensive care clinicians from all four Scottish cities, to co-ordinate and represent the specialty of intensive care in Scotland. Its specific aims were to promote educational, research and audit activities.

Before 1991 a West of Scotland intensive care group existed and organised evening clinical meetings which were attended by intensivists, many from outwith the West of Scotland area, but otherwise educational meetings with an intensive care content were few and far between. In January 1988, Dr. Alf Shearer on behalf of the Dundee ICU organised the first "Scottish Intensive Care Meeting" at the Station Hotel, Perth. This had a theme of infection in the ICU. Further meetings followed in January 1989 (oxygen transport) 1990 (acute renal failure) and 1991 (nutrition).

Preliminary discussions held during 1990 led to the setting up of a steering group and the SICS was formed at the end of the 1991 Scottish Intensive Care Meeting. The Society’s constitution provided for a Council based on geographical representation of three regions (East, West and North), and for our first President the society was delighted to have Dr. A.B.M. Telfer of Glasgow Royal Infirmary who, of course, had already been President of the UK Intensive Care Society. His prestige and enthusiasm were instrumental in getting the Society off to a powerful start.


The Annual Scientific Meeting…

The Annual Scientific Meetings soon developed into whole-day meetings with practical workshops, a plenary session, a poster display and a large trade exhibition. In 1992 the society welcomed Professor Konrad Falke from Berlin as the first of a number of notable overseas speakers, addressing the society on the use of inhaled nitric oxide in ARDS. In 1994, the expansion of the meeting led to a move to the University of Stirling campus, followed by the Royal Hotel in Bridge of Allan, the Dunblane Hydro, the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld and most recently the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews. Over the years speakers from around the world have educated the audience and enjoyed Scottish hospitality.

Audit & Research...

From the beginning the SICS has been involved in audit of intensive care practice in Scotland. Following the award of a grant of £200,000 by the Clinical Research and Audit Group of the Scottish Office Home & Health Department, the SICS Audit Project got under way in 1995. This project established a structured system for the collection of ICU clinical data comprehensively throughout Scotland. It has also facilitated the assessment of the relative merits of a variety of severity of illness scoring systems and their ability to predict outcome.

SICSAG has gone from strength to strength and in 2006 joined Information Services Division (ISD), part of NHS National Services Scotland. Its comprehensive coverage, de-anonymised annual reports, healthcare acquired infection surveillance work and introduction of quality indicators has been recognised throughout the UK.

The Audit Project has also spawned the Annual Audit meeting, from which has grown the Scottish Critical Care Clinical Trials Group, which aims to use the network of enthusiastic ICM clinicians in Scotland to facilitate multi-centre research projects. SICSAG and SCCTG hold an excellent two-day joint meeting in September, with input over the years from the Evidence Based Medicine Group.

SICS offers a number of awards, prizes and a bursary to support this area.

Training & trainees...

The Society has been involved in the training of intensivists of the future, providing numerous courses and teaching days, from which grew the Education & Training Group. The online induction modules created by them have been well received.

The Trainees Group started as a group of advanced trainees who organised audits, education days and a popular education meeting; in view of their success a constitution was created and their Chair the co-opted on to SICS Council to increase links. The Trainees Committee as it is now called continues with these activities, with a large membership who communicate via social media. The two-day education meeting in November held jointly by the Education Group and the Trainees Committee continues to flourish.

Huge changes in intensive care training are currently underway and SICS maintains vital links with the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and the Lead RA for ICM in Scotland.

Widening SICS membership...

The success of the SICS has encouraged interest from other critical care professionals and we now have an active Associate members group with representation from all ICM disciplines. In 2012 we were joined by a representative from the Scottish paediatric intensive care community and already this is providing useful links for both adult and paediatric units.

Representing Scottish Intensive Care...

The advent of the Scottish Parliament with the responsibility for management of the NHS in Scotland greatly increased the responsibility of the society for representing intensive care to government, and the SICS has provided advice on a number of clinical areas related to intensive care, such as bed numbers, workforce issues, tranpsort matters and contingency planning.

SICS also has representation on the Scottish Critical Care Delivery Chairs’ Group, the Scottish Transplant Group, The Scottish Standing Community of the AAGBI, the Intensive Care Society, the Critical Care Leadership Forum and the FICM Board.

The challenges ahead...

The SICS continues to grow, and with over 500 members, the Specialist Society Services at the AAGBI now provide us with administrative support. Ours is a dynamic organisation and there will be many changes and challenges for us in the years ahead. Changes in funding for healthcare will need to be balanced against the needs of an aging population, greater expectations and new developments. Services and working practices will inevitably be reorganised, and our future workforce will be very different comprising critical care practitioners and ICM colleagues from many disciplines. And our Society will be there every step of the way.

February 2014

Click here to see previous SICS Council and Annual General Meeting minutes

Click here to see previous office bearers

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