January 27, 2021


Top principles I wish to develop for the Society



As this is my first written communication of the New Year, as the new President of the ESICM I am keen to present my resolutions and vision for the Society – not just for the next twelve months but also for the longer term. A new year offers the chance to look ahead, as well as look back at what has been achieved.

2020 will be forever remembered as the year the World faced the biggest health crisis of our lifetime. ESICM stood united throughout, supporting and encouraging healthcare professionals dealing with this unprecedented situation and advancing knowledge of this disease.

As Europe’s Member States and the EU institutions began preparing their recovery plans, ESICM played a leading role in accompanying and supporting them. The crisis has highlighted the need for more intensive care doctors and N&AHPs to be ready for the next waves and for competent human resources to be moved across hospitals and regions, wherever they are most necessary. While medications and technology are important, trained personnel are what really matters to open an ICU bed. No one can train specialists in a few weeks or months, but we can train better those healthcare workers not working regularly in ICU, who are deployed to the ICU’s during the crisis.

This was the aim behind C_19 SPACE programme, the European Commission-funded training scheme. ESICM played a major role in developing the curriculum and initiating the search for the best possible national, local trainers to implement face-to-face training and recruit trainees in all EU Member States and the United Kingdom. The target was to train 10,000 nurses and doctors not regularly working in ICUs, in 1,000 hospitals, and we have now exceeded it, extending the programme further.

The recognition of the role of intensivists in Europe and their free movement across different countries are some of our main priorities. A consultation paper has been shared with all stakeholders in Europe and our dialogue with the institutions to achieve this objective carries on in a very good way.

ESICM is in a strong position to continue to be recognised as an innovative, worldwide scientific society that fosters clinical excellence, research and education, not just in Europe, but across the World. During my term as President, I wish to give equal opportunities based on merit to everyone working in Intensive Care Medicine.

We already bring our conferences, webinars, examinations, open-access and other online and blended learning resources to the global community, but we can do more. Therefore, I would like to provide more opportunities to countries in Eastern Europe and resource-limited countries in other continents, so that these communities can be more involved in the Society’s activities.

We are a fair and inclusive society and are now actively promoting diversity and opportunities based on merit, irrespective of gender, age, geographical background. We can do better than where we are today. Together with the Society, I will drive the changes in policy to mirror a balanced team of capable men and women from different backgrounds in active positions in the Society and in the expert faculty involved in our congresses and Master Classes.

While COVID-19 has closed the doors of many ICU’s to families, it has also shown the heart and strengths of our ICU’s to the outside world. We will carry on opening more doors to patients and families, welcoming them and their ideas in our community.

If asked to summarise the top principles I wish to develop for the Society in the long-term future, I would list them as follows:

  1. Create a structure to foster excellence and diversity in our society.
  2. Bring more guidelines and practical tools to bedside clinicians.
  3. Promote the free movement of intensive care professionals in Europe and possibly across the World.
  4. Establish ESICM as an organisation involved in studies that will change bedside practice worldwide.
  5. Develop education and research programmes to resource-limited settings.
  6. Create the infrastructure to collect and share ICU data on an EU level to benefit patients outcomes and research.
  7. Integrate research and education and bring educational programmes inside and outside the walls of our ICU’s.
  8. Increase the number of practical courses and certification courses matching the needs of our community.
  9. Work with members outside Europe to increase their voice, giving them the possibility to be more active members and develop new partnerships.
  10. Increase support for and involvement of NEXT in more activities of our society.
  11. Give a stronger voice to N&AHP members.
  12. Last but not least, bring laypeople, former patients, and families into the Society to help us develop the future of intensive care medicine.

I hope to have your support and interest in pursuing these principles and tasks.
Together we can achieve a great deal.

I wish you all the best of health and professional satisfaction for this coming year.

Maurizio Cecconi, ESICM President


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