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RCS England response to Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) report

15 Jun 2023

Professor Mark Taylor, Northern Ireland Director of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) said:

“This report makes for difficult reading. It focuses on patients who have had deeply upsetting experiences across a range of surgical specialties including general surgery, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT), plastics & orthopaedics.

“The NIPSO investigation, which RCS England engaged with, concludes that there is ‘systemic maladministration’ in NI’s health service in relation to patients on elective waiting lists. Patients routinely have not known what is happening with their care and when they will receive treatment.

“The Ombudsman further describes the process of elective care communications as ‘chaotic and in disarray’. The RCS England in Northern Ireland have consistently called for better waiting list communications with patients. They deserve to know how long they will wait for surgery or treatment and they should be better supported while they wait for that elective care.  We made these calls in our 2021 elective recovery plan 10 Steps Not 10 Years and 2022 surgical manifesto. Patients deserve honest conversations about their own healthcare and for them to be supported with services to help them ‘wait well’.

“Surgeons understand that digital healthcare transformation is underway in Northern Ireland’s health service and that efforts to validate waiting lists are significant.  All surgeons have an important part to play in communicating decisions with patients and we stand ready to play our part.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) provides world-class education, assessment and development to 30,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. Our vision is to see excellent surgical care for everyone. We do this by setting professional standards, facilitating research and championing the best outcomes for patients.
  2. A Professional Board of over 20 surgeons represents RCS England in Northern Ireland. They reflect the specialty areas of neurosurgery, ENT, paediatrics, general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, plastics, urology, vascular, cardiothoracic and OMFS.
  3. The Professional Board includes 10 elected regional specialty advisors, Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT), QUB & UU Medical School Surgical Society, NIMDTA Head of the School of Surgery, SAS doctors and an RCS England Council member.
  4.  The purpose of the Board is to improve surgical outcomes for patients, advocate locally and support the dissemination of good practice and professional guidance.
  5. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6052/6055 Email: Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.

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