Richard MasonLike a lot of people, I was singularly unenthused about the prospect of the London Olympics in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremony. And like a lot of people, I ended up sitting glued to the television throughout most of it, marvelling not just at the prodigious GB medal haul but at the faultless organisation and insightful and professional television coverage. This was, after all, a project that was supposedly ill-conceived, unaffordable to the point where we would all be paying off the bill for the rest of our lives, and destined to be riddled with sporting and technical glitches. Well, we’ve all but forgotten about the dodgy baton-handling now, haven’t we?
For those of us over the age of 40 whose default position on things involving British organisational ability will always be cynicism, it was a real fillip in the middle of this dismal summer to be taken unawares in this manner. It’s not uncommon to discover that things have turned out worse than one expected, but pleasant surprises are few and far between, and this was one of them. Of course, this wasn’t the first sporting surprise of the year. Chelsea managed to beat the invincible Barcelona over two legs (you may or may not be aware that your editor did not find this result wholly unpleasing), but even I would not have the temerity to suggest that this triumph was founded on Britishness.
Expect no such silver linings when it comes to statutory regulation for perfusionists. Just under a year ago, it appeared that, unbelievably, we were but a whisper away from achieving what had been unreachable for nearly 40 years, with our professional status about to be rubber-stamped as part of the Health Care Reform Bill. Today, we stand, at best, where we were ten years ago, and at worst, further away from our goal than ever. All we really know for certain at present is that regulation for perfusionists will almost certainly not be a subject for discussion in the lifetime of this government, and even then there is obviously no guarantee that any new administration will find our case any more compelling.
On top of this, we have been expected to engage with the educational processes that are fundamental to Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC). I have written enough on this page previously about the chasm between what MSC offers and what we currently enjoy as a voluntarily registered body for you to know that preservation of the status quo is the only realistic option currently at our disposal, and it is to the Executive’s great credit that it has steadfastly refused to sell the profession down the river, despite the fact that we are being told that by doing so we are distancing ourselves from regulation even more.
Still, after this summer, we are all entitled to believe in surprises. When I write the next editorial, I may be in a position to tell you that there has been an eleventh hour change of heart, and that perfusion is now a regulated profession that retains its specialist education programme. On the other hand, I suppose the Paralympics might go quite smoothly.