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Dr Bill Gunnyeon reflects on his first year as Chair of Council

28 April 2021

By Dr Bill Gunnyeon (view more by this author)
Bill Gunnyeon has been GOsC's Chair of Council since 1 April 2020.

Dr Bill Gunnyeon reflects on the unexpected challenges of his first year as GOsC’s Chair of Council and looks towards the future

It’s hard to believe that it’s a year since I became Chair of Council – and what a year it’s been. Little did I know when I was appointed in December 2019 that by the time I took over, the world would have changed dramatically and the lives of every one of us would have been significantly impacted.

I know that for osteopaths the impact of the pandemic was especially challenging, preventing you from delivering the treatments so important to and much valued by patients; significantly reducing your income; isolating you from the support of colleagues and peers; and leading to huge changes in the daily lives of you, your family and your friends.

And at GOsC, we had to adapt quickly to working from home; learn how to deliver our core functions remotely; address our financial challenges to ensure the sustainability of the organisation; improve our communication with all our stakeholders; support our staff and ensure their ongoing wellbeing; and continue to work with you all to ensure the protection of patients and the public.

the future is looking much brighter, albeit that the road ahead will not be entirely smooth

As I start the second year of my term as Chair, the future is looking much brighter, albeit that the road ahead will not be entirely smooth. There is without doubt though cause for optimism, not least as the result of the rapid development and deployment of vaccines which has been a real scientific and logistical triumph. Like every crisis, there are also many things that we have learned that can help us shape the future approach to work and to life in ways that we could not have imagined prior to the pandemic. As life returns to something closer to normal, we must ensure that we continue to take advantage of those lessons learned.

What will I take from the past year?

Firstly, a huge respect for the ability of people to adapt to unexpected difficulties, to learn new approaches, to grasp opportunities, to embrace change and to be increasingly innovative. Secondly, the importance of teams and the mutual support individual team members provide to each other in times of challenge. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the disproportionately positive effect on people of simple acts of kindness from fellow human beings.

As I reflect on the year from a personal perspective, there are things I have come to appreciate that I may have taken for granted previously. The importance of face-to-face human contact – how much I miss being with people both in a work setting and in life in general, and how I long for that contact to resume. The importance of friends and family and the support they provide. And how easy it is to overlook the importance of the simple things in life in what, pre-pandemic, was an increasingly fast-paced and materialistic world.

As I look forward, I am determined to spend more quality time with people; pay more attention to nurturing important friendships; to take life at a more sensible pace so that I do, in the words of the poet W H Davies, have 'time to stand and stare'; and to focus more on enjoying the simple things in life.

So, in the months ahead, as we move forward to a less restricted life, let’s ensure that we do our best to look after ourselves and each other.

Read more about Dr Bill Gunnyeon