My Time on RCSEd Council by Professor Angus Watson

My Time on RCSEd Council by Professor Angus Watson

We are currently inviting nominations for three vacancies on College Council. Here, Professor Angus Watson, Chair of Surgery at the University of Aberdeen and RCSEd Council Member, reflects on his time on Council.

It is a huge privilege to serve the Members and Fellows of the College by being on Council. I am extraordinarily lucky to have been given colleagues’ trust, and I therefore take my responsibilities seriously. I have attended every Council meeting during my tenure, and continue to serve as best I can. It is a real joy to help steer the College in its mission to promote the highest standards of surgical practice.

We have just delivered the final of the United Kingdom RCSEd & Medtronic 2022/2023 Surgical Skills Competition. We had an amazing 1300 students enter this year’s competition, and out of them 38 finalists emerged. These talented people attended an in-person event at the College, having practiced their skills using an innovative skills box which had been sent to over 200 second round winners. We introduced an orthopaedic external fixator skills test in this year’s final; a direct acknowledgement of my recent work in Ukraine where external fixation of ballistic injury is very common. It is great to see firsthand how the College interacts with medical students through initiatives such as this, and to play even a small part in helping them decide which path their careers will take them on.

The next two weeks were equally busy. On Thursday 20 April, I chaired an editorial group of colleagues who are finishing the Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare’s Capabilities Framework. The production of this landmark manual will coincide with the launch of the application process to become a Member or Fellow of the College’s newest Faculty and therefore the privilege of using the post-nominals M/FFRRHHEd – I think they will get noticed!

We are also hosting the 2nd International meeting on Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE) today. We have 200 registrants coming to the College for this in-person meeting. I am very proud of this work, having introduced CCE to NHS Scotland 5 years ago. Our evaluation work led directly to the use of CCE in the 56 cancer centres in NHS England. My wife, Professor Emma Watson, is the Executive Medical Director of NHS Education Scotland (NES) and will speak at an event organised for later this week. The Women in Leadership event is being jointly run by RCSEd and RCPE in association with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Our Vice-President, Miss Clare McNaught, has been instrumental in making this event happen. The timing of this event could not be more important, as poor behaviours and attitudes continue to be very serious issues in our profession.

Since taking over as chair of both the Research Committee and the Global Surgery Foundation, I have realised that both entities need to have their strategies refreshed. This is not a small task. However I am heartened with the news that we have received over 30 applications to join the Research Committee and I am really looking forward to harnessing this new talent and to also making the Committee as inclusive and representative as we can. We recently welcomed the first of our new Research Chairs. Miss Farhat Din, who became the inaugural RCSEd-Bowel Cancer UK Professor of Colorectal Surgery. We know that Professor Din will be a fantastic ambassador for the College, the charity, for patients and for the profession. I am confident that this will be the first of many new RCSEd chairs.

The College continues to grow. I am delighted to see that one of the first suggestions that I made when I joined Council, the College ‘app’, has surpassed 20,000 downloads. Communicating with our global membership is key, and ensuring that every Member and Fellow gets value from their membership is becoming a passion of mine. With over 200 employees and 30,000 Members across 100 countries, the College is a global charity. Organisations of this scale need to be driven, refreshed, governed, inspired and have a culture with team values that everyone can buy into. We need to be faultlessly inclusive and continue to lead for the benefit of our patients. There is much to be done.

Being part of the Council of the College is an exciting and important role, with Council Members representing the professional interests of the College's membership. Learn more and submit your Council nominations by 19 May here.

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