An Update From the President
25 January 2023
My first months as RCSEd President went by in a whirlwind as I delved headfirst into a diary full of College activities and events from the outset. Following the College’s Annual General Meeting where I took office, I travelled down to London to attend the Future Surgery Show on 15-16 November. One of the largest surgical conferences of the year, this was an excellent event with expert speakers discussing the challenges facing our workforce, as well as celebrating new advancements and surgical innovations. As well as stopping by the RCSEd stand to speak with Fellows, Members, Affiliates and friends of the College, I participated in the Recovery of Elective Services session on day one, a key focus of my tenure as President. During the conference I also had the opportunity to discuss the College’s focus on ‘Making It Better’, a term coined for the College’s 2022 Triennial/ICOSET Conference which perfectly summarises what we, the College, are working towards as we aim to improve the working lives of surgeons and the wider healthcare community.
No time for pause, the next stop on the calendar was the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow’s 2022 President’s Conference, which held a strong focus on sustainability in healthcare. The theming of this conference tied in perfectly with the launch of the Green Theatre Checklist, a compendium of peer-reviewed evidence, guidelines and policies endorsed by three Royal Surgical Colleges, developed to support members of the surgical team to introduce changes in their own operating departments. More details can be found at www.rcsed.ac.uk/greentheatre.
Two days in Birmingham were then on the agenda, as I attended the 2022 SAS Surgeons Development Day. The day involved several talks from faculty and various other speakers, with the goals of inspiring SAS colleagues to develop and progress and highlighting key ways to do so. This is just one of many ways we will support our SAS colleagues over 2023, with more work underway. This also provided a great opportunity to meet with our hardworking staff at the Birmingham Office.
The 2022 8th Annual Faculty of Perioperative Conference was next on my agenda. Taking place on 19 November at the College, the conference was themed around the surgical multidisciplinary team, and how to deliver safe, skilled, and effective care. I was delighted to join Co-Conveners Mrs Susan Hall and Professor Bhuvaneswari Krishnamoorthy, and had the opportunity to welcome attendees in the morning. At the conference, Past Lead for the Faculty of Perioperative Care, Mr Charlie Auld, promoted the Managed Voluntary Register for Surgical Care Practitioners, a bi-collegiate project between our own College and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. We hope that the register will support SCPs in furthering their expertise and demonstrating their commitment to personal development, while strengthening the case for statutory regulation by the General Medical Council (GMC). During the meeting, I also had the pleasure of presenting Charlie with a painting of the College to mark his vital contribution to the establishment and development of the Faculty over his many years as Faculty Lead. Newly appointed Lead for the Faculty of Perioperative Care, Mrs Juliette Murray, also gave an inspiring talk. Juliette shared her experience of training and working with surgical care practitioners and explained how multidisciplinary working can improve the working environment for trainee consultants and other staff members in addition to improving patient care.
Bolstering our bonds with the international healthcare community, myself along with Immediate Past RCSEd President Professor Mike Griffin and Past Honorary Secretary, Dr Judy Evans, journeyed to the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka to support our existing partnership, train examiners and contribute to the scientific programme. It was a great honour to be awarded their Honorary Fellowship, presented to me by Past President of the Sri Lankan College, Dr Jayindra Fernando. Pala Rajesh, Mike and I then visited The College of Surgeons of East & Central and Southern Africa (COSESCA) where we engaged with our partners, including RCSI and ACS. The visit allowed us the opportunity to support the evolution of COSECSA’s assessment and examination processes, whilst celebrating 148 new graduates; including many from our own Edinburgh Surgery Online courses, a partnered Masters programme with the University of Edinburgh.
I was delighted to host the RCSEd President’s Annual Festive Drinks Reception in the Fellow’s Library in December. The reception offered the opportunity to thank friends of the College for their ongoing support over the past year and discuss areas of collaboration for the year ahead, for the benefit of our members and the healthcare community. We also hosted the annual staff Christmas party at the College to thank everyone for their hard work throughout the pandemic and beyond at what was the first staff Christmas party since 2019, a pleasant return of normality. I look forward to seeing our fantastic team reach even greater heights in 2023.
I spent a tremendous few days with the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) in Mumbai, where I delivered a talk on management of biliary complications following HPB surgery at ASICON 2022. It was great to meet and congratulate the new Fellows at the conference, whilst also having the pleasure of being awarded Honorary Fellowship.
I also wish to mention my visit to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan meeting in Karachi, where I delivered a talk on ‘Changing Paradigms in Postgraduate Medical Education’. I was Chief Guest at their 55th Convocation Ceremony and was overjoyed to be awarded their Honorary Fellowship.
I have just returned from Dumfries House, having seen the incredible work of the Prince’s Foundation. This included visiting their wellbeing centre and getting an introduction to the innovative and inspiring education programmes that range from traditional arts and crafts to horticulture and farming. The purpose of these education and training programmes is to support learners of all ages with experiential, hands-on activities, and these provided many parallels to core functions of the College in terms of offering opportunities for the development of skills and knowledge. The day ended with a private dinner with His Majesty The King, our Royal Patron.
As we’ve now entered a new year, my key focus will be to continue making it better for healthcare workers and patients, particularly as we continue to face challenges in staff retention and workforce planning. I believe that with a superb team and Council behind me, the College can and will carry on the fabulous work of the last administration and truly make a difference for young doctors, surgeons and our patients.
Professor Rowan Parks, President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
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