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The Institute of Medicine holds its Annual Winter Symposium at No. 6 Kildare Street

The Institute of Medicine holds its Annual Winter Symposium at No. 6 Kildare Street

On 26 January, the doors of No. 6 Kildare Street were opened for the annual Institute of Medicine Winter Symposium

The theme of this year’s Institute of Medicine Winter Symposium was training in internal medicine, both here in Ireland and internationally. It featured an expert line-up of guest speakers, as well as a review of the OPTIMISE Project and an in-depth panel discussion.

Dr Adrienne Zandbergen

Dr Adrienne Zandbergen, Associate Professor in Internal Medicine, gave an insightful review of the Dutch training program in Internal Medicine. Dr Zandbergen’s lecture examined the journey of a resident in Internal Medicine in The Netherlands, as well as the importance of creating a future-proof workforce of healthcare professionals.

The key message from Dr Zandbergen was the importance of diversity among trainees, to challenge the current and future processes of health care.

Dr Zandbergen called upon two key questions which are vital to this:

  • Do our residents and medical specialists reflect our society accurately?
  • Do we select our future-proof residents in the right way?

Dr Adrienne Zandbergen (via Bobby Studios)

Dr Mike Jones

Dr Mike Jones, Consultant Physician in Acute Medicine, delivered a fascinating lecture titled “Redesigning of Internal Medicine in the UK: Why and How?”

Dr Jones examined why a review of internal medicine was needed, as well as the impacts that could occur if time spent training was to be lengthened.

During his talk, Dr Jones also highlighted the importance of a more rounded approach to trainee assessment, stating that no trainee can do it all. Dr Jones suggested a more detailed approach to evaluate the trainee’s abilities, as well as areas that need improvement.

Dr Mike Jones (via Bobby Studios)

Professor Anthony O’Connor

The OPTIMISE project kicked off in May 2022 under the leadership of Prof Anthony O’Connor. A report will be produced outlining the best programmatic structure required to deliver an integrated Internal Medicine training experience, and ultimately a clinical workforce that is equipped to provide healthcare to the Irish population in the future.

Speaking at the Symposium, Professor O’Connor said “Internal Medicine is the core business in our hospitals. Having people who are trained to adapt to the changing needs in internal medicine in the 21st Century is mission-critical, not just for The Royal College of Physicians but for the entire health service.”

Professor O’Connor drew on the importance of his fellow speakers during the event, stating “We have people of the highest calibre of training here this evening. Some of the contributions have been outstanding from people who have done this and redesigned these programmes and similar systems in other European countries. People who understand the same pressures as we do.”

He adds “We sometimes think these problems are insoluble, but it can be done because it is being done in these countries. That’s why it’s so wonderful for us to get people from North America, the Netherlands and the UK to first of all, show us that we’re not as far away from this as we think we are and secondly, there’s a way to move forward that works for us.”

Professor Anthony O’Connor (via Bobby Studios)

Call for Feedback

Professor O’Connor issued a call during the event for feedback as part of the OPTIMISE project, stating “We’re looking for anyone with any opinions at all on how we might reorganise training in internal medicine, everywhere from BST to HST in Ireland. We want to hear anything that people have to say.”

To share your feedback, email