The President's End of Year Wrap Up

The President's End of Year Wrap Up

 2021 has undoubtedly been a difficult year for all, particularly with the continued Pandemic. However, as we are about to ring in the New Year, I thought I would reflect on some of the positives that have come out of the past year and look towards what 2022 will bring.

2021 began full of hope that we would soon be able to return to more of a face-to-face model, but it still took time to deliver. The vaccine made it possible, but it wasn’t until July that we were able to hold our first Diploma Ceremonies, and only then to accommodate diplomates from the UK. We have since held several ceremonies, however, with this year’s final ceremony taking place on the 10 December. It was a joy to celebrate again in-person with our Diplomates this year, and 2022 should see several more ceremonies going ahead with restrictions permitting.

I am especially proud of the partnerships the College is continuing to make. Only recently did we agree with the makers of Da Vinci robots, Intuitive, to provide state of the art robotic training for all of Scotland, the North of England and much of mainland Europe in our Clinical Skills Lab. Two Da Vinci robots were delivered to the lab, with training already taking place. This is a superb partnership for our College, demonstrating that innovation is in pride of place here.

This year, our Faculties have continued to grow and develop. The Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare has launched and awarded a new fellowship fund this year, whilst also setting up an Introduction to Humanitarian Healthcare Course. The Faculty is also currently in the process of setting out standards for the profession with the Capabilities Framework; and has worked with Skills for Health to develop a framework to support organisations as they develop the infrastructure they need, with Robert Gordon University writing up a literature review for the project. The Faculty of Surgical Trainers has found new ways of communicating through webinars and podcasts, some of which have been interviews with trainers in other fields such as Formula 1 with Sir Jackie Stewart, and Cookery with Chef Michel Roux Jr. The Faculty of Perioperative Care has joined forces with the English College to develop a Register of all Perioperative care practitioners as a first step of bringing them in under our wing. The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care also continues to grow its numbers and develop its offer.

We launched the new Body Voyager exhibit in September at our Surgeons’ Hall Museums, which explores the rise in computerised and robotic technology in medicine. We are very proud of the exhibit, and grateful to our donors the Robert Barr Charitable Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and the Maurice Wohl Foundation in particular as well as the many other trust and individual donors who made it possible.

I am immensely proud of the fact that we are now not only the largest surgical College in the UK, but also have the most International members with over 15000 members based overseas. Plans are now underway for our Chennai Conference, which will be taking place in October 2022 and will bring surgeons and dental surgeons from all specialties together in India to underline our commitment to our overseas family. The conference has been nurtured by our Vice President Pala Rajesh, and we have a really exciting programme lined up for all who attend.

Looking forward, we have lots of exciting plans for 2022. Alongside the Chennai Conference, the Triennial Conference which was to mark the middle of my tenure will now take place on the 31 May. The theme is very close to my heart - as many of you know I have committed to ‘Make it Better for everyone’, and the conference which will be followed by the ICOSET conference on the 1 & 2 June will explore the ways in which we can make it better for women, for fellows, for trainees, for the wider surgical team and for the planet.

The College’s Council and the Executive Team have been working to develop a new strategy this year, which will take us to 2026 and beyond. Our mission is to be a strong and supportive voice for our family of members, developing your careers, upholding standards and ensuring patient safety all across the world.  Our vision is to be the most welcoming, inclusive and innovative surgical college in the world.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2022,

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

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