New SOM president to focus on single occupational health organisation

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Scottish consultant in occupational medicine Dr Alastair Leckie has been appointed as the new president of the Society of ­Occupational Medicine (SOM) from this month.

Leckie, lead consultant in ­occupational medicine for NHS Fife and director for the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Services, takes up the one-year post on 11 June.

In an exclusive interview with Occupational Health, he said that one of his priorities during his ­tenure would be to build on the work of outgoing president Dr Richard Heron and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine to create a new single organisation for healthcare professionals.

“The biggest thing in my in-tray will… be the project we are working on to create a single organisation for OH professionals. It potentially will have a massive impact on the way we all operate,” he said.

However, he conceded the project would probably not be completed during his term of office.

The society opened up its membership to nurses and allied healthcare professionals in 2012, and so another key strand of work will be to encourage more nurses and allied health professionals to become ­affiliated members, he said.

A further priority will be to continue to influence the Government. Next year is shaping up to be a pivotal one, with the launch of the new independent health and work ­assessment and advisory service.

The society would look to work closely with the Government on the shape and feel of this new service, he said, but OH needed to recognise – and make the point – that it was about much more than just assessment and advice.

“We are a preventive specialty; we are about preventing harm happening to people. I don’t want that message to get lost. We must not forget that people are still being harmed by work,” he said.

“We must always look for the biggest benefit, the best outcome, for the public.”

Leckie said he intended to visit each of the society’s 10 ­regional groups during his presidency as well as listen closely to grassroots members about any concerns or issues that needed to be addressed.

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