News from the International Affairs Office
Over 200 overseas surgeons placed into UK hospitals through the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP)
Wednesday 1 August 2018
The RCS has been running the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) since 2014, a scheme operating under the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) that allows International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to come to the UK for up to two years of specialty training and development. The RCS is delighted to announce that over 200 surgeons, across all surgical specialties have participated in this programme.
The ISTP serves as a mutual benefit for overseas surgeons and the NHS/employing trusts. Surgeons receive exposure to a range of clinical work suitable for their development and are given the opportunity to develop valuable transferable skills often not offered in their home countries; and the employing trust benefits by receiving highly skilled, clinically competent and enthusiastic doctors who bring in new perspectives and alternative approaches into our healthcare, while at the same time increasing workforce capacity. All overseas surgeons are interviewed by the RCS first to ensure that they have the appropriate clinical knowledge, experience and communication skills to work in the UK at an ST3+ level.
RCS representatives travel to Sri Lanka to continue the regional assistance and mentoring programme
Thursday 21 June 2018
The Regional Assistance and Mentoring Programme (RAMP) is a collaborative programme between the Royal College of Surgeons and the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka that aims to address their request for upskilling of consultants and senior trainees.
The workshop was held over five days in April at the Kurunegala University Hospital and comprised of hand (orthopaedic and plastic) surgery training.
The surgical workshops allowed RCS representatives to support six plastic surgery senior registrars and one registrar through the majority of the cases that were presented the day before, and demonstrated the surgical approach on the remaining cases. A total of 22 cases were undertaken by the collaborative RCS and CSSL team.
Lectures and seminars ran concurrently to the surgical workshop, which were lead by the UK consultants in their speciality subject area. There were further sessions on team-work which included the wider surgical team, particularly nurses. This also allowed for the staff to reiterate the importance of the WHO Checklist and encourage its regular use.
The second facet of this trip was to begin the development of a Burns Network for Sri Lanka. This was lead by Ken Dunn. During this trip, Ken hosted a burns workshop for stakeholders form the surrounding region. He then spent the week collecting and analysing data to inform and plan this project. As a follow on from this trip, Ken now has a phone in with this development group at Kurunegala Hospital. This Burns Network will be set up on a regional basis, in the first instance, but it is planned that there will be a successful roll out of a national network in the future.
ISTP Annual Symposium
Thursday 21 June 2018
On Thursday the 14th of June, the RCS hosted its 2018 ISTP Annual Symposium at the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The symposium provides a platform for ISTP trainees to meet one another, share their experiences and attend sessions focusing on non-clinical skills, and continue their persona development.
The day proved a huge success and Professor Derek Alderson, PRCS, awarded the following doctors their Certificates of Completion:
Abhijeet Wakure, Yohan Abeysekera, Sairam Kanapathalillai, Prasanna Ratnayake, Alex Muhindo, Jack Barasa, Basim Wahba, Paul Okeny, Sunil Mohandas, Indika Weerasinghe and Sanjeewa Wijeyaratna
Thank you to all of the ISTP Trainees who attended, and a huge thanks to the consultants and speakers who came to spend the day with the ISTP Trainees.
2018 International Project Grant winners announced
Thursday 21 June 2018
Following an overwhelming response to our 2018 International Project Grants call for applications, the RCS is delighted to annouce that we will e awarding £5000 each to the following winning applications:
Dhaka Medical College Hospital
Improvement in the Acute Treatment and Rehabilitation of Electrical Hand Burns
Egerton University, Faulty of Health Sciences
Proposal to Purchase Egerton University a Skills Lab and Acute Trauma Training Equipment
College of Medicine, University of Nigeria
Training of Traditional Bonesetters for Improved Outcome of Primary Fracture Care in Enugu, Nigeria
RCS delivers three-day paediatric course with CMC, Vellore
Monday 4 June 2019
The Royal College of Surgeons of England and Christian Medical College, Vellow delivered a three day course, that was designed to target secondary hospital staff, including general surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, anaesthetists and staff nurses.
Below is an article written in the New Indian Express conveying the impact that the course has, and will continue to have, to the practice or paediatric surgical intervention in district-level hospitals.
Tickets for Global Surgical Frontiers on sale
Monday 23 April 2018
Tickets for the annual Global Surgical Frontiers are on sale. The Conference Theme for this year is Meeting Challenges of Trauma Core in Low and Middle Income Countries. Find out more about Global Surgical Frontier 2018 and how to book tickets.
Gaza Ministry of Health registers as a Partner Institution
Wednesday 21 March 2018
RCS visit to Gaza
Monday 19 March 2018
The Royal College of Surgeons, The Ministry of Health of the The State of Palestine and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) have collaborated in efforts to further develop surgical skills in Gaza. Three years ago a scoping visit was conducted, and it was decided that the RCS needed to offer the following:
- Training the Trainers
- Basic Surgical Skills
- Core Skills in Laparoscopic Surgery
- Training in Advanced Laparoscopic GI Surgery
- Accreditation and QA by the RCS
- Mentoring of consultants
The most recent visit was the second of four trips to be undertaken, where the RCS and MAP will continue to work together to deliver the surgical courses to surgical trainees in Gaza. By having training the trainer courses, this collaboration will lead to a self sustaining model of healthcare improvement in areas where access to further training can be difficult.
You can read MAP's report on the trip for more information about the visit and find out how to donate to the programme.
Second SAFE OR Pilot held in Ethiopia
Wednesday 7 February 2018
The second pilot of the SAFE OR Course was delivered at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 30th to February 2nd. This course was developed in collaboration with The AAGBI, the AfPP, Lifebox, the WFSA and SAFE.
The programme is structured as a three day course that sequentially addresses the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative elements of providing safe surgery. It does this by exploring themes and techniques for good communication skills and team working at the beginning of the course, and these themes are then interwoven through the rest of the course by way of reinforcement. It is envisaged that groups who come and train together may then go back to their own hospital and practice more effectively.
A major element of the course is to train and increase local faculty engagement, while reducing the involvement of international faculty. Below is a photo of the local faculty during the SAFE OR Commitment to change workshop.
ISTP team India visit
Tuesday 6 February 2018
In January, the international team travelled to India to promote the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP). Shafi Ahmed and Erinn Middleton visited Mumbai to meet with Partner Institutions: College of Physicians and Surgeons, Tata Memorial Centre and Seth Medical School and KEM Hospital, followed by a visit to Hyderabad to conduct an ISTP seminar in collaboration with the Association of Surgeons of India. It proved a very successful trip with 17 new surgical trainees accepted onto the programme.
Update to changes to the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) - Tier 5 visa requirements
Monday 5 February 2018
The MTI is a national scheme designed to allow a small number of doctors to enter the UK from overseas for a maximum of 24 months, so that they can benefit from training and development in NHS services before returning to their home countries.
The International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) operates within the generic MTI scheme with the primary focus of advancing the standard of surgical care globally. Since its inception, the ISTP has allowed the RCS to facilitate the GMC registration and thr supporting Tier 5 visa for surgical trainees entering the UK to undertake short-term training in ISTP posts.
Due to recent changes set out by the Department of Health, Health Education England and the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, priority for Tier 5 visa Certificates of Sponsorship is now given to doctors applying from countries listed as:
- Countries where the Department for International Development (DfID) works
- World Bank classified Low Income (LI) and Lower Middle Income (LMI) Countries.
Pleased refer to the list of current prioritised countries. This list will be regularly updated by the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges.
Surgeons from these countries can apply for the International Surgical Training Programme as normal, providing they meet the RCS eligibility requirements.
Surgeons who are applying from countries that are not on the above list
The RCS can still facilitate sponsorship for GMC registration for surgeons applying from the countries that are not currently prioritised countries, however, entry to the UK will need to be through an alternative route, such as the Tier 2 (General) visa.
The Following websites can provide further information regarding the Tier 2 visa route and eligibility requirements:
The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa Become International Partner
Monday 5 February 2018
The IA Office is delighted to welcome The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) as a new ISTP Partner Institution. The CMSA represents nine surgical colleges throughout South Africa and we look forward to facilitating UK training placements for their Members and Fellows.
ISTP Trainees Announced at ASICON 2017
Tuesday 2 January 2018
Six ISTP Trainees were announced at ASICON 2017 held in Jaipur from December 26th to December 30th. The ISTP Trainees were introduced on stage by the President of ASI and congratulated by himself, and the delegates seen in the above picture, all from ASI as well.
Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) register as an ISTP Partner Institution
Monday 6 November 2017
First pilot of 'SAFE Operating Room' completed in Ethiopia
Thursday 21 September 2017
This September, a team of clinicians delivered the first pilot of a newly written short course "SAFE Operating Room". The course was hosted by Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). It is a unique collaboration between the RCS, the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI), the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) and the Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP), professional bodies that united surgeons, anaesthetists and theatre nurses in designing the programme and also delivering it. Read more about the course.
High achieving RCS Fellows receive prestigious Indian accolade
Monday 15 May 2017
We would like to wish huge congratulations to Dr Raghu Ram FRCS, the youngest surgeon ever from the Southern Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to be awarded the prestigious Dr B C Roy National Award, the highest award a practising doctor can receive in India, for an outstanding contribution to sociomedical relief.
We further congratulate Prof Pawanindra Lal FRCS, who also won this eminent award.
RCS partnering with CMC Vellore on developing a training programme in critical children's surgical conditions
Tuesday 9 May 2017
In early April 2017, the RCS visited Vellore in southern India to take forward our development project: Hub and Spoke Model of Training in Critical Children’s Surgical Conditions for District Hospitals.
Paediatric surgeons Mr Richard Stewart and Miss Kokila Lakhoo were invited by Dr Vrisha Madhuri, Professor and Head of the Paediatric Orthopaedic Unit at Christian Medical College, Vellore – our partners in this joint project.
A new initiative by the Indian government envisages screening of all children and adolescents for key medical and surgical conditions and their referral to and treatment by existing healthcare providers. However - in the existing system - surgeons and nurses in the fields of orthopaedics, trauma, general surgery and urology lack experience in managing younger children. In addition, the support services such as anaesthesiologists and intensive care units for children under six years of age are inadequate or even non-existent. This forms a crisis situation wherein identified children are unable to access or obtain quality local care.
Surgeons from the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) will partner with their Indian colleagues and develop a curriculum for training in identifying and grading of critical surgical conditions, devising a decision making algorithm, imparting skills to prevent and treat the early stage disease at the district level secondary centres (Spokes) and have the necessary referral network/telemedicine portals to refer advanced cases to the training centres (Hubs). The program envisages connectivity between the ‘Hub and Spokes’ to provide a continuous seamless care.
Dr Madhuri arranged an intensive programme of presentations and discussions with specialist surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses at CMC, before we drove some five hours to a district general hospital in Tumkur. Surgeons and their anaesthetist gave concise presentations which helped the visitors understand the practical considerations affecting decisions for treatment or referral. This information was invaluable in suggesting the content and approach for the course which we are to develop. We also visited a new sub-campus of CMC at Chittoor, an impressive new facility which is fast developing.
Discussions continued at CMC and the combined team have drafted a curriculum for a 3-day short course which will be piloted at CMC Vellore later this year. Once reviewed and amended as necessary, we anticipate that the course will form the backbone of a cascade of training in a state or region which will greatly improve the effective diagnosis, triage and referral of paediatric conditions.
RCS at the Pan African Association of Surgeons First International Conference
The Pan African Association of Surgeons Global Surgical Implementation conference was attended by the leaders of fellow surgical colleges across the continent. The African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa hosted the 3 day meeting to contribute political context with much of the discussion requiring coordination not just across the surgical communities but with the support of health and finance ministries.
RCS international affairs engaged with progressive actors and discussed what initiatives the RCS can deploy to support the surgical priorities of training delivery, capacity building and responses to workforce stresses.
Another fruitful discussion was had with St Paul’s hospital regarding surgical training and specialty workshops required to upskill trainees in general surgery. The RCS met with the head of surgery at Black Lion Hospital to discuss the forthcoming Safer Theatre Practice course. We also visited CURE International’s paediatric orthopaedic facility.
International Travel Awards
We are delighted to announce that three International Travel Awards have been granted to the following successful applicants:
Elizabeth Hadija Tissingh
Topic: Improving trauma outcomes in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Topic: Paediatric surgery in Nepal: Improving access to children surgery
Topic: Long term outcomes associated with a complex surgical mission treating head and neck facial disfigurement
Find out more here about RCS International and Visiting Fellow Travel Grants or contact email@example.com in case you have any other questions.
RCS attending COSECSA and ASICON Conferences
The International Affairs’ Team attended two Annual Conferences in December: COSECSA, in Kenya and ASICON, in India. These provided great opportunities to engage with our members and surgeons in these countries.
COSECSA Annual Meeting – 7-9th December 2016
RCS International Affairs meet with key stakeholders from across the region and discuss potential programmes of work that can be delivered collaboratively with COSECSA.
This community reunites annually to set the agenda for the coming year and celebrate the wealth of talent and promote best practice across the profession.
The RCS had a stand at this popular event to promote the ISTP for which COSECSA is a principal partner. The RCS has received over 15 applications from surgeons in training across COSECSA countries and those who are accepted onto the scheme have so far flourished. This motivated, talented and resilient group of surgeons will return to implement some of the key clinical and patient management methodologies learned in the NHS into practice. The leadership and teaching skills will have a positive impact on the future of surgery for patients across COSECSA’s countries.
In recognition of this valuable community, the RCS attended the conference in order to foster links across the continent and, with the RCS international strategy at the heart of the dialogue, begin the dialogue and planning of surgical programmes work with numerous institutions and individuals.
Association of Surgeons of India – 14-18 December 2016
RCS attended the 76th Annual Conference of the Association of Surgeons of India with the view to engaging with RCS members, surgeons and stakeholders from India.
This provided a great opportunity to meet various members of the College, and other surgeons who visited our stand at the conference, which received approximately 5,000 delegates from all over the country. The RCS used this opportunity to host a small event with some of our members to talk about the RCS international strategy and future plans with India. During the conference, the International Team also had the opportunity to meet the President-elect of ASICON, Dr. Shiva K Misra, with whom we exchanged ideas about the RCS work internationally and in India.
As a result of our visit, we have established closer contacts with some of our members in India, who came to our event, and as a result we will be announcing names of our first appointed International Advisors for India, very shortly. RCS also got mentioned in the local press, as part of our visit and meeting with member of RCS.
Become an RCS International Adviser
The RCS wishes to appoint honorary International Advisers from designated countries listed by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Applicants must be surgeons in good standing and Fellows of the RCS.
Application deadline: 28 November 2016.
Launch of RCS International Strategy 2016-2020
Monday 3rd October 2016
In 2015, the publication of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery focused the attention of the global surgical and healthcare community on the problems facing the least developed countries.
In response to this, we decided to address global surgery more directly and to build upon the existing outreach of our programmes. Overseas members already constitute around a quarter of our membership and we also reach out with our examinations, our partners who deliver RCS courses under licence, the International Surgical Training Programme, our research partnerships and our accreditation services.
Surgeons have long given their skills and experience in the service of surgery in resource-poor settings, often in conflict zones or disaster areas. Our new international strategy sets out our ambition over the next four years to encourage and channel that resource towards specific projects, through partnering with healthcare institutions overseas and building local capacity in ways that are context sensitive and sustainable. A different strand of the strategy will explore improving surgical care in the emerging economies of the Middle East and Gulf states – for example, on a paid-services basis.
RCS fellows and members are key to the success of the strategy, because of the surgical expertise that they can deploy on projects through partners in low and middle income countries (LMICs). They are equally important as our eyes and ears in LMICs and other countries, advising the RCS on areas of surgical need or developmental opportunity.
If you have any questions or wish to get involved with our international work please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for the Global Surgical Frontiers Conference 2017 is now open
Monday 3rd October 2016
The International team is delighted to announce that registration for the Global Surgical Frontiers Conference is now open.
Please follow this link to access early bird fees.
The GSF 2017 is taking place at the RCS on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 April 2017. This two-day conference will be focused on Children's Surgery, bringing different surgical specialities together.
If you are interested in attending or exhibit at this conference, please contact the international team email@example.com or visit the conference page.
We look forward to seeing you there!
RCS International hosts first ISTP annual symposium
Monday 3rd October 2016
On Thursday 29th September, RCS International hosted its first annual symposium for overseas surgeons who are working in the UK through the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP).
The day proved very successful with almost 30 surgeons attending. The day provided a valuable opportunity for the surgeons to network with each other and acquire non-technical skills that they can take back to their home country at the end of their placement.
Pioneering children's surgery research to be undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa
Tuesday 26 July 2016
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has awarded a RCS Research Fellowship to Paediatric Surgery Registrar, Ms Naomi Wright, to undertake pioneering research in children’s surgery across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It is the first Global Surgery project to be funded by the RCS.
At present it is estimated that up to 94% of children in SSA do not have access to safe, affordable surgical care.
Ms Wright, who is currently a Paediatric Surgery Registrar and Surgical Lead for Medicine Africa at King’s College London, and a member of the RCS, said:
“Each year millions of newborns and children in sub-Saharan Africa die or suffer long-term disability from conditions that are operable and survivable in the UK. This study will provide vital data to help advocate for enhanced children’s surgical services in sub-Saharan Africa and will help to identify cost-effective interventions to improve outcomes.”
The study, entitled “Paediatric Surgery across Sub-Saharan Africa: A Multi-Centre Prospective Cohort Study”, will recruit surgeons and allied health professionals throughout the 46 countries in SSA to collectively produce the largest prospective cohort study of paediatric surgery in this region of the world.
Commenting on receiving the award, Ms Wright, said:
“I cannot thank the RCS enough for awarding me this fellowship and hence allowing this project to proceed. I feel privileged to be the first Global Surgery project to receive the fellowship - hopefully the first of many.”
It is hoped formation of the ‘PaedSurg Africa Research Collaboration’ will help to enhance research capacity in SSA and create a platform for on-going collaborative research and interventional studies.
For more details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last 23 years the RCS, through the Research Fellowship Scheme, has committed more than £35 million to support over 700 individual trainee surgeons working in university departments and hospitals throughout the UK and abroad.
Find out more about our international opportunities.
Find out more about applying for a research fellowship.
International Affairs staff visit Egypt
Wednesday 23 March 2016
Duncan Jackman (Director) and Erinn Middleton (ISTP Officer) both visited Egypt in February / March.
Duncan attended the Egypt-UK Symposium on Family Medicine & Research, led by Sir Magdi Yacoub, at Aswan, before meeting with Major General Dr Ahmed Tawdi (pictured) at the Military Medical Academy in Cairo. The College and Egypt have built a strong relationship over 25 years of collaboration to jointly deliver our examinations.
Erinn travelled with Shafi Ahmed (RCS Council member and ISTP Clinical Lead) to meet with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Population (pictured) and hold joint ISTP interviews for the Egyptian candidates. The interviews were successful and seven new surgeons were accepted onto the ISTP and will start their placements in UK trusts this year.
Malaysian Society of Colorectal Surgeons registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Thursday 10 March 2016
Overseas surgeons complete their ISTP placements
Tuesday 16 February 2016
The RCS congratulates Mr Yousif Habib Alabboudi and Mr Vernon Manil Fernando for recently completing their 12 months specialty training in the UK through the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP). Mr Alabboudi (pictured) from Dubai, UAE undertook 12 months of General Surgery training within Barts Health NHS Trust.
Mr Fernando, from Sri Lanka, completed 12-months of Trauma and Orthopaedic training at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Both surgeons have been awarded their certificates of completion by the President.
ISTP interviews to be held in Cairo, Egypt
Friday 5 February 2016
The RCS will be running ISTP interviews in Cairo on Tuesday 8 March in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population.
Trainees interested in submitting an application are urged to email email@example.com.
RCS attending COSECSA AGM & Scientific Conference in Blantyre, 2-4 December
Monday 19 October, 2015
The RCS is pleased to announce its attendance at this years' COSECSA AGM & Scientific Conference in Blantyre. We will be available to discuss UK training opportunities through our International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP).
This collaboration between the RCS & COSECSA will allow suitably-qualified surgeons from the COSECSA regions to undertake sub-specialty training in UK hospitals for a maximum of two years. Surgeons interested in applying for the programme are encouraged to register their interest with the RCS MTI Officer or contact their local COSECSA regional representative.
MES Medical College Hospital registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Friday 18 December, 2015
The College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Friday 18 December, 2015
The RCS is delighted to announce that the The College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) has joined the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) as a participating Partner Institution.
All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Wednesday 25 November, 2015
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (AIMS) registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Monday 23 November, 2015
The RCS is delighted to announce that the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (AIMS) has joined the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) as a participating Partner Institution.
UK training opportunities
Tuesday 3 November, 2015
The International Office is inviting applications from highly-skilled International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who wish to undertake training in the UK through the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP).
J&J Medical China visit to RCS
Wednesday 26 October, 2015
The RCS is delighted to announce that surgeons from Johnson and Johnson Medical China are visiting us from 27 – 29 October as part of an on-going partnership with Johnson & Johnson in China. The RCS has previously accredited J&J surgical training centres in China, and will be visiting China later this year to accredit new centres as well as re-accredit existing ones.
Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Tuesday 20 October, 2015
The RCS is delighted to announce that the Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College and King Edward Memorial Hospital has joined the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP).
RAHETID registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Wednesday 14 October, 2015
The International Office is delighted to announce that the RA Hospital, Education and Training Institute in Dhaka, Bangladesh has joined the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) as a participating Partner Institution.
RACS registers as ISTP Partner Institution
Tuesday 13 October, 2015
The International Office is delighted to announce that the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has joined the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) as a participating Partner Institution.
First ISTP trainee from the Royal Medical Services, Jordan
Friday 25 September, 2015
The first trainee through the auspices of the RCS/Jordanian Royal Medical Services ISTP partnership has arrived to the UK. Dr Saleh Al Hababheh is a breast surgeon and will be undertaking a two-year training post at The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.
First overseas trainee completes ISTP
Friday 7 August, 2015
The RCS International Office is pleased to announce its first overseas trainee in the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) has completed his placement in the UK.
Get in touch
The International Office is the main point of contact for all queries from international surgeons and stakeholders who wish to find out more about opportunities and ventures overseas.
Telephone +44 (0)20 7869 6053
We are able to answer calls Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm