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Home › Healthcare Bodies › National Surgical Commissioning Centre › Advice and support on for commissioning

Advice and support on for commissioning

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 Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) Quality Assurance and Accreditation team has developed standards and guidance around the design, delivery and quality management of surgery-related educational activities and programmes. It has also developed organisational standards for surgical education centres and defined training standards for surgical practitioner grades. These standards, coupled with a robust review and QA mechanism, are designed to aid service providers and commissioners support the spread and adoption of best practice, share innovation and learning, drive continuous quality improvement and achieve standards of excellence in education.

A QA review is undertaken by an independent, objective panel of senior surgeons from the RCS Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee. It covers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities; short courses; programmes of study (including postgraduate programmes); peri /post-CCT training fellowships and surgical education centres. Detailed recommendations for quality improvement are provided and where activities meet the RCS standards, accreditation is awarded. As part of an on-going collaborative relationship between the College and the service provider, the RCS online evaluation platform is provided and accredited activities are monitored. All accredited activities and providers are listed on the RCS Accreditation portal (

If you would like to discuss how the RCS QA & Accreditation team could assist you, please contact the Accreditation Manager on 020 7869 6236 or

Support for secondary care clinicians involved in commissioning

The college supports the work being carried out by The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The FMLM and RCP have received funding from NHS England to support secondary care clinicians involved in commissioning. This work with secondary care clinicians who are on CCG governing bodies, will develop their understanding, skills and knowledge of the role. Secondary care clinicians provide a unique perspective of secondary care to commissioners with a view to aid integrated care.

As part of this work, a series of free one day workshops have been arranged to encourage learning and discussion between secondary care clinicians in this role.

Dates for next meetings:

21 May 2014    Manchester

3 July 2014      Leeds

If you are sitting on a  CCG body and would like to attend one of these events please contact