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Blog

  1. 8
    Nov
    2017

    Improving Surgical Training - A consultant's perspective

    This autumn, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, supported by Health Education England (HEE) and in association with the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST) are launching a new pilot surgical training scheme. Entitled ‘Improving Surgical Training’

    Ian Eardley, Senior Vice-President at the Royal College of Surgeons

  2. 8
    Nov
    2017

    Improving Surgical Training – A Trainee’s Perspective – What does it mean for us?

    Those of us intending to apply for core surgical training this year have a new training programme for general surgery to consider – Improving Surgical Training (IST).

    Dr Hannah Lewis

  3. 20
    Oct
    2017

    A focus on physical activity can help avoid unnecessary social care

    Surgeons realise the huge impact of people living longer but suffering ill-health for more years. We see patients waiting for social support before they can go home, elective patients having surgery cancelled through a lack of hospital beds and some patients nursed in ‘escalation areas’.

    Mrs Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopedic surgeon and Council Member of the Royal College of Surgeons

  4. 13
    Oct
    2017

    Private sector and NHS must meet the same standards of care

    On Monday night (16 October) BBC Panorama will broadcast an important investigation into standards in the private sector.

    Professor Derek Alderson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  5. 31
    Aug
    2017

    Why is a safe, cost-effective therapy for a deadly disease underutilised in the UK?

    When clinical evidence of efficacy and safety, high cost-effectiveness, NICE guidelines and international consensus by all relevant professional organisations are not sufficient to ensure appropriate access to bariatric/metabolic surgery, then it becomes clear that misconceptions and the stigma of obesity are the main barriers.

    Ms Cynthia-Michelle Borg, Consultant Bariatric and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, University Hospital Lewisham and Scientific Co-Chair of IFSO 2017

  6. 22
    Aug
    2017

    How we made training more fun by creating a surgical skills competition

    There are limited surgical skills courses pitched at core trainees or pre-specialty surgical trainees, and those that do exist are often expensive. We identified the potential of an alternative type of training course that encompassed fun and teamwork as well as friendly rivalry.

    Kat Ford & Lilli Cooper

  7. 24
    Jul
    2017

    Prejudiced, penny-pinching and punitive

    The Sunday Times (23 July 2017) reported on “unprecedented” bans on routine hip and knee operations for people who are obese and for people who smoke, as well as similar threats regarding access to cardiac surgery. Professor Derek Alderson, RCS President, is right to describe these restrictions as “illogical and prejudicial”.

    Ros Levenson, Chair of the Royal College of Surgeons Patient and Lay Group

  8. 13
    Jul
    2017

    Safeguarding the future of cosmetic surgery

    As someone who has undergone a significant amount of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery myself, I know just how important it is for a patient to have the utmost trust in the medical practitioner helping them.

    Mr Gary Ross, Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester

  9. 15
    Jun
    2017

    Making the NHS a priority out of a hung parliament

    Despite polls and pundits predicting a comfortable majority, in the end the Conservatives lost 13 seats and ended on 318 MPs – 8 short of an overall majority. This has left Theresa May under intense pressure from the media, her own party colleagues, and an emboldened Labour opposition. Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour finished the night with an additional 30 MPs, with post-election polls even putting them ahead for the first time since Corbyn became leader. So what are the implications for the NHS?

    Will Culliford, Policy and Public Affairs Manager

  10. 15
    Jun
    2017

    What could the DUP alliance mean for health

    Those of us who call Northern Ireland home may have been disappointed, but not shocked, to see a return to so-called ‘tribal voting’ in the devolved nation after a roller coaster year. But those responsible for maintaining the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) website almost certainly had the biggest surprise of all: a website meltdown brought about by the highest volume of traffic ever witnessed, as a direct result of the hung parliament. So, who are the DUP, what have they said about health and social care and what can we expect from their negotiations with the Conservatives?

    Susan Kelly, RCS Policy and Public Affairs for Northern Ireland

  11. 31
    May
    2017

    A new surgical qualification shaped around the needs of today's junior surgeons

    This week sees the launch of the RCS Postgraduate Certificate in Surgery. Aimed at the junior tier of aspiring surgeons. How is the PGCert in Surgery different? E-learning is nothing new, and the benefits are well-documented: easy to access, available at any time, allowing efficient transfer of information.

    Mr Daniel Ryan, President Elect of the Federation of Orthopaedic Trainees in Europe and Vice President of BOTA

  12. 8
    May
    2017

    Revalidation: Clare Barton of the GMC answers your questions

    With revalidation now in its fifth year, Clare Barton, Assistant Director of Revalidation at the General Medical Council answered some of our members’ questions on the process.

    Clare Barton, Assistant Director of Revalidation at the General Medical Council

  13. 3
    Apr
    2017

    Hospital: showing how efficiency savings lead to inefficiency

    On the front of a recent issue of the BMJ there was an illustration comparing the appointment to top NHS trusts of a crop of new chief executives from abroad with football team managers. No doubt there will be an increasing market for high flying CEOs in the future and while they may not command the salaries of the premier league bosses, some will still be taking home half a million before tax. That’s four times more than most consultants and ten times as much as many of the hospital staff.

    Professor Neil Mortensen

  14. 27
    Mar
    2017

    Under pressure: not enough support for consultants?

    In recent years, the NHS has increasingly struggled financially as costs have risen faster than income. When funding is tight in a labour-intensive sector such as the NHS, finding ways to stimulate labour productivity will be a key element in achieving these savings.

    Sarah Lafond, Senior Economics Analyst, The Health Foundation

  15. 23
    Mar
    2017

    It’s time CCGs put a stop to restricting weight loss surgery

    It is well-known that people who are seriously obese will develop other medical conditions as a result. This often compounds the obesity and takes a toll on their general health, and the healthcare economy. It’s also been established that for some, surgery can help them lose significant weight and return to a healthier lifestyle. It is proven to be safe, effective and saves the NHS money in the long term. So it is clear that bariatric surgery should be made more readily available to those who need it when everything else has been tried.

    Shaw Somers, President of British Obesity & Metabolic Surgery Society

  16. 8
    Mar
    2017

    Our profession urgently needs a change of image

    Reflecting back on my Emerging Leaders experience, the dominant tone was that of inclusion and interest. On that first morning, however, I asked myself what I was doing there...

    Miss Jenny Smith

  17. 7
    Feb
    2017

    Reconfiguration of clinical services in the NHS – in the “too difficult” box?

    The GMC says that doctors “should make the care of your patients your first concern”. But we don’t. We put our personal practice, our unit and even our “empire” first. Understandable. That is human nature. And no one likes change. But at a time of significant change in the patient population we serve and in the expectations of our patients, is it not time for a fresh look?

    Mr Leslie Hamilton

  18. 12
    Jan
    2017

    Winter pressures - what's happening in surgery?

    "This winter has already demonstrated the enormous pressures in the NHS across the UK. For most of us it seems it is the worst we have experienced in our working lives."

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  19. 10
    Nov
    2016

    A common law right to autonomy of treatment

    Nigel Poole QC considers the landmark judgment in Montgomery v Lanarkshire [2015] which affects the surgeon/patient relationship. The Supreme Court held that patients have the right to exercise autonomy over their own bodies and over the treatment they undergo.

    Nigel Poole QC

  20. 8
    Nov
    2016

    We still need to do more to encourage the brightest and best female doctors to become surgeons

    Whilst on the surface it appears that the gender gap in medicine as a whole is decreasing or perhaps even inverting (fifty-six percent of foundation year 1 doctors are female), in surgery the statistics tell a different story.

  21. 28
    Oct
    2016

    The morale maze: what's to be done to improve workforce morale?

    One way or another, it is absolutely clear that workforce morale requires much greater priority. Let’s try some simple things now – they may make a difference.

  22. 13
    Oct
    2016

    A breast surgeon reflects on the complex decisions facing her patients at a difficult time

    "I recently told a 30-year-old woman she probably has breast cancer. I say woman, but she looked like a young girl to me. Even as I approach 50, I feel young and that there is a long future ahead."

  23. 6
    Oct
    2016

    Emergency Gallbladder Removal – Do more, and sooner

    "The report highlights the importance of doing the simple things right and doing them first time round. Many patient readmissions with acute pancreatitis could be avoided if the underlying cause is identified and treated during the first admission."

  24. 13
    Sep
    2016

    Improving the odds of surviving the UK's most high-risk surgery

    "To many patients, an elective - or planned operation - can be a daunting experience. However, what most people do not realise is that an emergency bowel operation is the most high risk surgery in England and Wales."

    Mike Grocott

  25. 16
    Aug
    2016

    Unfair NHS English language testing rules must go with Brexit

    "Is it fair that a doctor from New Zealand will have to prove their English language skills in a clinical setting to be able to practise in the UK while a doctor from the EU only has to prove their everyday English skills?"

    Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgeons

  26. 15
    Aug
    2016

    How can we better involve patients and the public in healthcare decisions?

    "Involving lay people, whether as patients, carers or as members of the wider community, should be a continuing process and not an ‘event’. It is a bit like continuing professional development – always ongoing, always offering new challenges and always suggesting new ways of working."

    Ros Levenson

  27. 3
    Aug
    2016

    How to get your paper published

    "There is no magic formula for success, but a combination of commitment, hard work and top tips from successful academics may propel the novice academic to publishing success."

    Jyoti Shah

  28. 21
    Jul
    2016

    Making the best of Brexit for the NHS

    "Change, challenges, setbacks, and advances are the hallmarks of modern medical careers. We can either let "Brexit" type moments consume us, whispering from the sidelines, or show the leadership necessary to deal with the uncertainty which now confronts us... "

    Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  29. 20
    Jul
    2016

    Publishing outcomes data for consultants and hospitals in private healthcare will help improve patient care

    "I spent years working as a doctor in emergency medicine, so I know from personal experience how cumbersome data collection can be, especially if it is implemented at odds with spending time on patient care. Then again, I also know how powerful data can be when it is correct and used in the right way."

    Dr Vaibhav "VJ" Joshi

  30. 14
    Jul
    2016

    GlobalSurg Crowdsourcing: Innovation and collaboration to map surgery outcomes

    "Standing in a dark, windowless operating room in the Republic of Congo a few years ago when a power failure cut the lighting mid-surgery was a troubling reminder that many of the resources we take for granted at home are often a luxury for our colleagues working in low-resource settings."

    Ed Fitzgerald

  31. 20
    Jun
    2016

    They should never happen...preventing never events

    "A never event is a terrible misnomer for serious untoward events that, despite the introduction of the WHO safeguards, are occurring over 200 times a year in the UK."

    Mr Andrew Miles

  32. 28
    Apr
    2016

    A trauma course born out of personal tragedy

    "Dr Styner developed and delivered a local trauma training programme that was taken up by the state of Nebraska and then nationally a year later... Today, the course is delivered in over 75 countries"

    Mr Steven Bush

  33. 27
    Apr
    2016

    Delivering a sustainable major trauma workforce

    "Training pathways must be sufficiently integrated to allow the trainee to develop their trauma ambitions without negating aspirations to cultivate an elective sub-specialty or emergency (non-trauma) practice."

    Mr Nigel Tai

  34. 27
    Apr
    2016

    Why is surgery ignored in discussions about global health needs?

    "Mention “global health” and most people in the UK, even doctors, think of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and possibly Ebola. Few think of surgery... "

    Professor Christopher Lavy

  35. 19
    Apr
    2016

    Don't sit on your bottom and ignore the symptoms of bowel cancer

    "Any bleeding persisting for more than a week or so, or occurring when there are no other symptoms of piles, needs to be taken seriously and properly investigated"

    Professor Neil Mortenson

  36. 1
    Mar
    2016

    Surgeon as Patient: Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer

    "As soon as I saw my breast ultrasound I knew exactly what lay ahead. All the possible complications and worst-case scenarios flashed before my eyes"

    Miss Liz Ball

  37. 15
    Feb
    2016

    What CQC inspections tell us about hospitals

    "Despite the very real challenges facing acute hospitals and the complexities of how they deliver services, we have seen how outstanding innovation is improving patient care."

    Professor Sir Mike Richards

  38. 12
    Feb
    2016

    How I used 3D printing to practise complex transplant operation

    "It’s fantastic to see the difference the transplant made in the child’s life and we’re now aiming to use 3D printing to support safe and successful transplantation in similar cases."

    Mr Pankaj Chandak

  39. 5
    Feb
    2016

    Planned operations: the wheels must keep spinning

    "The cancellation of planned operations is driving up waiting lists and leaving us and theatre teams faced with having to tell patients that we are not able to operate today. This should not be the case when it is not due to clinical reasons."

    Mr Peter Prinsley

  40. 15
    Jan
    2016

    2016 will be a year for change

    "In 2016 we will continue to work towards delivering our three strategic priorities, underpinning the College’s vision of advancing surgical care."

    Andrew Reed, RCS Chief Executive

  41. 9
    Jan
    2016

    "An Inspector Calls" (apologies to J.B. Priestley)

    "For the NHS this first working week of January will be remembered for the headlines of hospitals in crisis, patients on trolleys and cancelled operations."

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  42. 8
    Jan
    2016

    The NHS' commitment to junior doctors must not go the way of the January gym membership

    "The New Year is an opportunity to set out resolutions for improvement and challenges the NHS, and indeed our College, to learn from the concerns expressed by junior doctors to better support the entire medical workforce"

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  43. 8
    Jan
    2016

    Rhiannon Harries on how we can better support surgical trainees

    "Is it any wonder there is low morale amongst surgical trainees, or why junior doctors are either leaving surgery, the UK or the medical profession in droves? Trainees and trainers must remain united to address this crisis, to protect our beloved profession, before it's too late!"

    Miss Rhiannon Harries

  44. 10
    Dec
    2015

    Routine emergency surgery for children must be available locally

    "At the Royal College of Surgeons we want to support and encourage local surgeons and hospitals to offer non-specialist surgical care for children in both elective and emergency situations."

    Mr Richard Stewart

  45. 1
    Dec
    2015

    New mentoring guide published to help surgeons fulfil their potential

    "Mentoring is about exploring how an individual wants to develop or change, often letting them verbalise their thoughts and come up with their own solutions with guidance..."

    Mrs Scarlett McNally

  46. 6
    Nov
    2015

    How does UK healthcare fare internationally?

    "While debates often focus on lack of access to treatments (such as worsening waiting times, life-extending cancer drugs, or IVF), the OECD found that in the UK access to care is good, with unmet care needs and waiting times for elective surgery below the OECD average."

    Grace Gottlieb, Policy Officer, RCS

  47. 5
    Nov
    2015

    Help make cosmetic surgery safer for patients: apply for certification

    "I hope you will join me in preparing and applying for certification. Let’s protect patients and help them to identify appropriately qualified and experienced surgeons from individuals who should not be operating."

    Mr Tim Mellor

  48. 9
    Oct
    2015

    Medical schools must offer all undergraduates high quality, practical surgical teaching

    "A minimum standard of surgical knowledge, skills and understanding for every doctor should improve patient care. It should also allow those considering a career as a surgeon to have a sound basis for their future development."

    Miss Scarlett McNally

  49. 29
    Sep
    2015

    Negotiation not imposition

    "As President of the College, I will continue to seek every opportunity to persuade the government and NHS Employers to find a way forward with the BMA and the Junior Doctors’ Committee, that reflects the importance of trainee doctor workforce."

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  50. 24
    Sep
    2015

    How can we gather meaningful outcomes for patients with special needs and their carers?

    "My experience has shown that patients with a learning disability or impairment have a lot to teach us. We just need to give them the time and respect, to enable us to tap into that valuable resource."

    Dr Selina Master

  51. 16
    Sep
    2015

    Bariatric surgery can provide a lifeline for people with obesity

    "Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned that obesity will overtake smoking to become the biggest public health challenge over the next five years."

    Mr Roger Ackroyd

  52. 9
    Sep
    2015

    Challenging the stereotype of a surgeon

    "The social media campaign #ilooklikeasurgeon highlighted just how many women surgeons there are working in the UK and around the world."

    Mrs Scarlett McNally

  53. 4
    Sep
    2015

    Hernia surgery limiting service provision puts patients at risk

    "The NHS needs to make a £22 billion saving by 2021. Delivering care more appropriately to help to reduce costs remains a key priority for NHS England. "

    Mr David Sanders FRCS and Mr Martin Kurzer FRCS

  54. 17
    Aug
    2015

    Transparency needed in non drug trials

    "At the RCS our aim is to instigate a cultural change towards improving the transparency of surgical trials, and we urge others with influence over trials on surgical and other non-regulated interventions to do the same."

    Professor Derek Alderson

  55. 28
    Jul
    2015

    How do we improve surgical training?

    "Surgical services need to change. Seven-day care is required to reduce weekend mortality; integrating health and social care would help to care for older people with multiple conditions; and services providing complex surgery need rationalisation to improve outcomes for patients... "

    Ian Eardley and Karen Smith

  56. 22
    Jul
    2015

    Improving care every day of the year: Responding to the debate

    "It's not just weekends which pose significant patient safety issues. August is the traditional month of summer holidays and junior doctor change over. ..."

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  57. 15
    Jul
    2015

    Has the National Hip Fracture Database transformed hip fracture care?

    "Hip fracture care has improved radically over the last decade. New analysis published today shows that time to surgery and death rates reduced among older people with hip fracture following the launch of the National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD) in 2007."

    Jenny Neuburger

  58. 7
    Jul
    2015

    Clinical Service Accreditation (CSA) is coming your way!

    "Providing evidence of achieving standards is undoubtedly a burden; however, the vast majority of effort expended in achieving accreditation is actually related to doing the things necessary to improve the quality of the service."

    Mr Mark Coleman

  59. 11
    Jun
    2015

    Sir Bruce Keogh simplifies 18-week waits

    "For all their successes, the 18-week waiting times targets have been rather confusing and unfair since they were introduced in England nearly a decade ago... "

    Dr Rob Findlay

  60. 1
    Jun
    2015

    Lord Darzi on surgery and the future of the NHS

    "Amid the concern about the future of the NHS one point is worth emphasising. The current standard of health care provided in the UK is the best it has ever been."

    Lord Darzi

  61. 29
    May
    2015

    Importance of communication to patient experience

    "Learning to communicate is a lifelong journey that never ends in medicine. At the heart of this learning has to be the patient's experience; everything about even the shortest conversation may be remembered for a lifetime by that person... "

    Kate Granger

  62. 18
    May
    2015

    What does a Conservative majority mean for the NHS and surgery?

    "Continuity would offer the NHS space to focus on the real challenges facing the health service, particularly well-established cultural and financial risks."

    Patrick Leahy, Head of Press and Public Affairs, RCS

  63. 5
    May
    2015

    'Women Like Me'

    "As a medical student, it was inspirational to watch a leprosy surgeon in Nepal perform complex hand surgery, in a small hospital in the foothills of the Himalayas, with the most basic of surgical instruments. The challenges of balancing career goals with a normal family life is no different whatever your gender."

    Ms Sabreena Mahroof

  64. 22
    Apr
    2015

    Hip and knee replacements: BMI and smoking thresholds are not the answer

    "Both smoking and high BMI are risks to manage with patients as soon as they are referred to a surgeon. This is entirely comparable with how other risks, such as uncontrolled diabetes, should be managed. Hard-and-fast rules denying or delaying surgery to patients in pain are unethical."

    Tim Wilton

  65. 13
    Apr
    2015

    The restorative power of dentistry

    "Many years ago, when I was a trainee, I saw a patient who had been referred for oral rehabilitation following surgery to remove a large tumour in the roof of her mouth... "

    Lorna McCaul

  66. 16
    Jan
    2015

    The festive season: A reflective experience

    "Working as a surgical trainee over the holiday season is often bitter sweet. On one hand, the drive into work was tranquil and the wards were full of good food. On the other hand, winter pressures were in full swing with the surgical wards full of patients."

    Mr David Sidloff

  67. 15
    Dec
    2014

    Our patients deserve more: The surgeon perspective on winter pressures

    "As a practising surgeon, looking after cancer patients, it is heartbreaking seeing operations cancelled on the day of surgery... "

    Mr Shafi Ahmed

  68. 4
    Dec
    2014

    From the President: "Tidings of comfort and joy!"

    "Freezing, on the platform at Plymouth station yesterday evening, I heard that familiar refrain of the Christmas carol sending tidings of "comfort and joy" from the adjacent church hall. After an amazingly vibrant and energising two days in Truro and Plymouth visiting their surgeons I really felt the reality of those words."

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  69. 27
    Nov
    2014

    Hospital discharge: The importance of involving and consulting carers

    "Carers should be involved with decisions about treatment and support, and must be consulted when it comes to planning around discharge. Taking on unpaid caring responsibilities can be a stressful and bewildering experience... "

    Heléna Herklots

  70. 21
    Nov
    2014

    Publishing consultant outcomes: A work in progress

    "What really matters in our quest for improvement is that we use outcomes to understand our own work and have honest and informed conversations with patients about the nature of surgery and their chances of successful outcome."

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

  71. 12
    Nov
    2014

    STARSurg: Building the future of surgical research

    "This national, multi-centre, student-led collaborative research and audit project has been a world-first. The learning curve has been steep, but the enthusiasm with which students from across the UK and Ireland have taken to it suggests that with the right mentoring and support, surgical research has a bright future ahead."

    Ed Fitzgerald

  72. 7
    Nov
    2014

    The NBSR shows how bariatric surgeons give patients their health back

    "There are times when a pat on the back is very welcome and the bariatric healthcare community can feel suitably cheered by the second report from the National Bariatric Surgery Register (NBSR)."

    Mr Richard Welbourn

  73. 17
    Oct
    2014

    "I'm one of the... um... new surgical SHOs here"

    "Being a doctor has always been both a nightmare of juggling demands amidst the wonderful small clinical encounters that make each day worthwhile and no three-letter acronym will ever quite sum up what I do."

    Daniel Liu

  74. 2
    Oct
    2014

    The politics of healthcare in party conference season

    "The financial situation facing the NHS is a subject which has dominated party conferences this year. Statistics and predictions have ricocheted across the halls and the fringe debates in a rather chaotic fashion... "

    Jo Revill, Director of Strategic Communications, RCS

  75. 12
    Sep
    2014

    Good Surgical Practice - Communication is vital

    "Achieving the highest standard of patient care requires more than surgical excellence which is a base on which to build trust with both patients and colleagues. Leadership skills, and an environment of collaboration with the patient and the wider clinical team, are essential."

    Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons

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