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Introducing your new President, Neil Mortensen

09 Jul 2020

On 9 July 2020 Professor Neil Mortensen took office as the new President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The inauguration of a president often brings with it new innovations and change. Neil takes office at a landmark time for the NHS, the College and society as a whole, and he is particularly excited to continue transforming and improving everything surgical.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Mortensen said:

‘I don’t need to tell you that this is an extraordinary moment in British medical history. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the NHS has been in the news every single day, its core values praised and its staff recognised publicly as heroes. Many of you have shown flexibility and resourcefulness in finding new ways of working and there are inspiring stories to be told. Tragically, we have seen colleagues die and our workforce continues to take huge personal risk to provide the very best care for our patients. It is fundamental that we resume surgery as soon as we can, ensuring that it is as safe as possible for both patients and staff.

‘What do I want to achieve as your President?

‘First of all, we have to get through this challenging period. The virus will eventually be tamed but surgery and our College will never be the same again. All of our normal ways of delivering education, training, research and examinations have had to be adapted. We have been looking anew at how we teach, learn and share best practice to be more agile, more flexible and more responsive to this new environment.

‘Recent events have also demonstrated the significant work that needs to be done to end discrimination in our profession and the wider healthcare system. The RCS recently released a statement on challenging racism and championing diversity laying out our four commitments to this cause.

‘We must listen to and support the next generation of surgeons. It is our responsibility to ensure the practice of surgery adapts to modern ways of working and living, to make it a rewarding, attractive, achievable career for the widest possible range of talented new doctors.’

It has also been a turbulent six months for demitting president, Professor Derek Alderson. Derek reflects on the end of his three-year term in the July Bulletin, with an article titled Dealing with a crisis: building for a future.

On leaving office, Derek says:

‘Congratulations to Neil. He will be a great asset to the College and our work advancing surgical care, at this critical moment in our long history.

‘As we move into our flagship HQ and face new external challenges, I am confident Neil will ensure that the Royal College of Surgeons of England retains its reputation as a national and world leader in surgery.’

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