Individuals within a healthcare work system are central to safe, efficient performance. In delivering healthcare these individuals interact with all other elements of the system; performing tasks using different technology and tools, within the working environment and as part of the wider organisation. They can influence, and are influenced by, each of these components in the delivery of healthcare processes.

In the context of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh the individuals involved in our health system include surgeons and dentists, other healthcare professionals including paramedics, advanced nursing and dental practitioners, and, of course, patients. To develop a rounded understanding of how these groups interact in a healthcare system we need to consider their knowledge, education, and training; understand their motivation and needs; as well as their physical and psychological characteristics.





Empowering patients to engage effectively with health and healthcare requires that they have language and numeracy skills and a degree of understanding about health, disease, and the healthcare system. This is termed ‘healthcare literacy’ and is a central component of government policy to improve population health.

Healthcare literacy is promoted through the Heritage & Museums Committee through engagement with our museums - regularly hosting school group activities and holding public and online lectures on healthcare. The museum uses its twitter feed to engage the public with healthcare artifacts from its archive and keep them informed of upcoming events. RCSEd is regularly consulted by the Government and other agencies on issues of health promotion. The Lay Advisory Committee acts to highlight areas of public concern and offer advice on all College activity.



The College works to facilitate the development of surgeons and dentists at every stage of their careers in a friendly, collegiate atmosphere. The growing network of 45 Regional Surgical Advisers keeps our community informed of opportunities at the College and offers advice as required. RCSEd inspires future generations through a diverse range of activities, including school student career fayres, undergraduate surgical and dental skills competitions, courses such as the Foundations in Clinical Surgery, and medical student elective grant support.

Our Trainees’ Committee and Younger Fellows’ Club represents the interests of these groups, offering support through regular meetings, activities, and an annual residential. The RCSEd committee for Specialty Doctors, Associate Specialists, and Locums (SASLC) represents all SAS Doctors, Dentists, Locums, and those working in other similar grades. For retired surgeons, there is the Senior Fellows Club.

A myriad of courses, online resources such as Acland’s Anatomy, webinar library, and, with Edinburgh University, the Edinburgh Surgery Online suite of e-learning programmes all help guide surgeons through training and onto higher qualifications. The Surgeons News magazine is produced quarterly. There is also an opportunity for financial support for research and development of skills in placements overseas.

 Other Health Professionals


Through its Faculties, RCSEd supports members of the wider healthcare team – paramedics through the Faculty of Pre-hospital Care, dental hygienists through the Faculty of Dental Surgery, and surgical care practitioners/surgical first assistants through the Faculty of Peri-operative care (FPC). The FPC provides education, training, helps set standards for non-medical practitioners in surgery, and supports ongoing professional recognition of this key workforce. 


Patient Safety Resources - Person



Scottish Government Healthcare Literacy Plan


UK Government Healthcare Literacy Paper


Surgeons' Hall Museums public events


Surgeons' Hall Museums school group activities


RCSEd Museum Twitter


RCSEd policy and consultations


RCSEd Lay Advisory Committee


RCSEd Career support


Regional Surgical Advisers


Events for school pupils


RCSEd Surgical Undergraduate and Dental Undergraduate Skills Competitions


Medical Student bursaries


RCSEd Trainees' Committee


RCSEd Younger Fellows' Group


Staff and Locum Consultants Committee (SASLC)


Senior Fellows Club


RCSEd Learning Resources


RCSEd Events and Courses


Edinburgh Surgery Online


Edinburgh Surgery Online MSc Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors


Surgeons' News


RCSEd Research, Travel and Award Opportunities


Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care


Faculty of Dental Surgery


Faculty of Peri-Operative Care


Learn more about the other areas of the SEIPS model here.

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