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Restructuring the INS for the future

By Niamh Quinlan - 20th Feb 2023


In its 50th year of existence, the Irish Nephrology Society (INS) is examining how the Society can be restructured

The INS Winter Meeting took place on Saturday, 28 January in the RCSI in Dublin.

Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI) at the meeting, INS President, and Consultant Renal Physician at Cork University Hospital, Prof Liam Plant, said that the number of nephrology practitioners has grown in recent years.

“The increase in [practitioners] and the increase in the opportunity to do all of these collaborations mean that we’re reviewing the governance of our Society to try and focus on the different domains,” he said.

The INS currently has an executive – a President and two secretaries, with business meetings conducted with INS members.

As part of the restructuring proposals, there would be five committee officers appointed.

Another proposal is to appoint four ‘domain leads’ in research and innovation, clinical care and service development, training and education, and advocacy and external relationships.

A board would be formed, which would consist of these officers and leads, along with representatives from the National Renal Office, the Institute of Medicine, and at least two training representatives, amongst others.

Consultant Nephrologist at Beaumont Hospital, Prof Peter Conlon, who had early given a talk on the INS research collective, said: “There [are] lots of people besides doctors and scientists that work in nephrology care, in particular nurses, some very senior nurses, [and] some technicians that keep the machines going. They should probably become a member of our society.”

“We need to refresh the membership,” Prof Plant also said.

He told MI the restructuring “really represents an expansion in the number of practitioners in Ireland, working in this domain, and the opportunities that this presents for us to participate in whatever it is we can do”.

Speaking about the state of the specialty in general, Prof Plant said: “There’s a very big disease burden of kidney disease. So, we will probably be playing catch-up for a long period of time as to the number of practitioners we have. Nephrology… involves lifelong involvement in chronic disease management, but it’s also involved in many exciting things like transplantation, intensive care, etc. And it always appears to have attracted doctors [and] nurses….

“I think it’s an attractive and important specialty and that’s why we’re here.”

According to its mission statement, the INS aims to ensure high quality care for patients with kidney disease by promoting the highest standard of medical practice.

The Society also aims to be the primary vehicle underpinning collaborative research efforts into kidney disease across Ireland, North and South, and to ensure the education of nephrology trainees is to a high standard by provision of a comprehensive, structured training programme with a holistic approach to patient care.

The INS also seeks to assist in bridging the gap between innovation and implementation of novel research and, therefore, aims to establish strong links with industry innovators and to be the primary point of contact between industry and clinical nephrology researchers in Ireland.

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