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Advice and support

The Royal College of Surgeons of England offers a variety of support services for commissioners and service providers.

Regional information and support

The College's regional professional affairs infrastructure enables commissioners and providers to access advice and support on the implementation of national commissioning guides at local level as well as the provision of surgical services in your area.

Invited reviews of surgical services

The RCS Invited Review team aims to be both flexible and practical in its approach, design reviews that meet the emerging needs of both commissioners and providers.

An invited review provides an expert, independent and objective view of a surgical service and/or the way in which a surgical pathway is being delivered. We nominate senior consultant surgeons to undertake reviews on behalf of the RCS and the relevant surgical specialty association. We also have access to a highly experienced group of lay personnel who represent the patients' and public's interests.

Our review teams consider detailed documentation about the surgical service concerned and interview key personnel involved in providing the service before producing a comprehensive report that addresses the areas agreed under the terms of reference.

Recent examples of work undertaken for commissioners and providers include:

  • A review of a surgical team’s delivery of a specialist surgical pathway to assist commissioners and providers to identify reasons why key clinical performance indicators were not being met.
  • A review of a surgical team’s approach to a particular area of surgical care to identify if this was in line with key RCS and surgical specialty association standards.
  • A review of a commissioner’s analysis of the anticipated future demand for a surgical service and the factors that might affect its provider’s capacity to deliver this.
  • A review of the quality and safety of the delivery of a surgical service where concerns had been raised.

If you would like to have an initial conversation about how the RCS Invited Review team could assist you, please contact our Invited Review Service Lead on 020 7869 6223.

Support with revalidation

The College is responsible for ensuring and improving the quality of surgical practice and safeguarding the safety of patients. A robust implementation of the revalidation system can contribute to these objectives. The College offers a range of resources that can support heath providers to understand the specialty-specific elements of revalidation:

  • An advisory service for responsible officers, appraisers and individual surgeons who have queries on the surgical elements of revalidation. The service can be accessed through an online helpdesk that is operated by a team of advisors from the RCS and the surgical specialty associations.
  • Guidance on supporting information for surgery, including specialty-specific framework guidance on surgical outcomes and audit, and guidance on the requirements of continuing professional development for surgical revalidation. 
  • Guidance for surgeons who return to practice after a period of absence, developed under the auspices of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The guidance provides a series of checklists and an action plan for the returning surgeon and his or her employer to ensure a safe return to practice.

Quality assurance and accreditation

The College has also developed policies around six specific forms of accreditation in order to corroborate where programmes, courses, or events have complied with the College’s criteria and standards.

The College terms accreditation as the process by which it verifies the quality and standards of courses or events offered by educational organisations.

The aims of College accreditation activities are:

  • To provide strong leadership and support for surgeons in all matters relating to their surgical practice, throughout their surgical careers.
  • To work in partnership with the providers of surgical education to ensure the highest standards of education in surgery are met.
  • To provide assurance that course or events are developed and delivered to the standards expected by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • To ensure that the content of a course or event is relevant to its target audience and the development of competent surgeons.
  • To ensure that surgical courses and events are well constructed with appropriate evaluation to ensure constructive improvement.
  • To encourage the appropriate evaluation of educational activities.
  • To assist surgeons in justifying attendance and/or participation in scientific and educational events.

For more information please see the Accreditation pages.