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Surgical Profession

Surgical training in the independent sector (October 2018)

Although the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) recognises the need to use the independent sector to enable patients to be treated more quickly in the short term, it is concerned that this transfer of a substantial volume of NHS work to the independent sector has negatively impacted surgical trainees through the loss of training opportunities and a subsequent decrease in morale. The RCS's position statement on surgical training in the independent sector calls for the establishment of a national framework for the independent sector to provide training that ensures consistent standards of training and compliant hospital rotas, while streamlining funding and indemnity arrangements


A Question of Balance - the extended surgical team (October 2016)

New surgical workforce models that improve patient care are being established in the NHS all the time. ‘Extended surgical teams’ that include consultants, doctors in training, specialty and associated (SAS) doctors and non-medical practitioners have evolved in response to pressures on the service. A new report – A question of balance: The extended surgical team – commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) - investigates the experiences of staff working at eight case study sites that have introduced workforce models using the wider surgical team.

Making the most of trainee doctors' insights (January 2016)

Following a roundtable discussion held in 2015, this paper considers the barriers to trainee doctors contributing their insights in the NHS and provides examples of best practice across three areas: quality improvement, education and training, and clinical research (primarily large scale collaborative research).

Improving surgical training (November 2015)

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is working with Health Education England (HEE) to pilot a new surgical training programme for general surgery. The pilot will trial improvements in the quality of training, a better training-service balance for trainees, and look to develop other members of the team from other professional backgrounds to work alongside trainees to improve patient care. Read the report

Briefing for debate on cosmetic surgery (October 2015)

The Royal College of Surgeons provided this briefing to Parliament ahead of a House of Commons adjournment debate on the regulation of cosmetic surgery.

Statement on the Queen's speech and professional regulation (June 2015)

The Royal College of Surgeons provided this briefing to Parliament on the Queen's speech, expressing disappointment that the Government chose not to press ahead with reform to professional regulation. Such changes would have allowed the General Medical Council to note which surgeons can perform cosmetic surgery, and it would have protected surgical and dental job titles in law.

Shape of Training position statement (December 2014)

The Shape of Training review was an independent review into whether changes are required in postgraduate medical education and training to ensure it continues to meet the needs of patients, society, and the NHS in the future. This paper sets out our position on the review and the future of surgical training.

Women in surgery (August 2013)

The Royal College of Surgeons is committed to promoting surgery as a career for women. Currently, comparatively fewer women decide to pursue a career in surgery than men because of a number of factors. This submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry on Women in STEM careers outlines the College's view on the barriers they face and sets out a number of proposals for improving uptake.

The role of the independent sector in education and training (August 2013)

The College would like to see the independent sector play a more prominent role in the delivery of education and training, where it is appropriately qualified to do so. This briefing outlines our views in more detail.

Surgery and the NHS in numbers (March 2013)

Surgery is one of the most important treatments offered by the NHS in secondary care within the UK. This briefing gives the background to the workload of surgeons and the number of procedures undertaken in the NHS.

Surgical specialties

Modern surgery has developed to such an extent that the body of knowledge and technical skills required have led to surgeons specialising in particular areas, usually an anatomical area of the body or occasionally in a particular technique or type of patient. There are nine surgical specialties and this section contains background briefings from the College on the main branches of specialist surgical practice.

Medical Titles (July 2010)

There are various categories of surgeons including consultant surgeons, specialty doctors and surgeons in training. The College believes that the variable use of the term ‘consultant surgeon’ (with any prefix of suffix) within the health service is misleading for patients and the public, and recommends that the 1983 Health Act be amended to restrict the use of this title to medically qualified practitioners in a surgical specialty, on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council, who have been appointed by a statutory Advisory Appointment Committee process.

Supporting Professional Activities (April 2010)

In this policy statement the College outlines the role Supporting Professional Activities (SPA) have in underpinning direct clinical care and the activities and responsibilities for which SPA time is given towards. The College believes that normally 2.5 SPAs would provide an adequate amount of time to fulfil these responsibilities for the majority of surgeons but should be subject to annual appraisal and job planning.

The Consultant Surgeon and the Consultant-Delivered Service (February 2009)

In this position statement the College sets out what it believes the role of a consultant surgeon in the NHS should be and how surgical services can deliver high quality patient care. The statement addresses issues of quality, training, use of resources and patient choice.

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