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The RCS England SUPPORT Improvement Collaborative

Adverse events are a part of surgery, and we know that they impact the wellbeing of surgeons both personally and professionally. Despite this, the profession has been slow to recognise the breadth and depth of the impact on surgeons in the UK and slower still in considering how it should respond.   

RCS England’s Supporting Surgeons After Adverse Events good practice guidance provides information on mitigating the impact of such events on surgeons, enabling better patient care and enhancing professional satisfaction.

To help implement this guidance into mainstream surgical practice, RCS England is recruiting 20 trusts and health boards across the UK to join the SUrgeon Peer-led POst-incident Response Teams Improvement Collaborative (RCS England SUPPORT Improvement Collaborative), a unique new initiative aimed at improving the support systems provided to surgeons after adverse events across the UK.

Project Outline

We aim to establish the SUPPORT Improvement Collaborative by recruiting 20 Trusts and Health Boards across the UK and supporting them to introduce, develop, and maintain the practical approaches described by the RCS England’s Supporting Surgeons After Adverse Events good practice guidance and through this, improve the support provided to surgeons after adverse events in surgery. 

Support is available to participant organisations across an 18-24 month period, with participants initially orientated to these approaches and assisted in introducing them into their hospitals.  The Improvement Collaborative would then support participants to maintain these approaches across a 12-18 month period, sharing experiences and learning and collating data about this activity and its impact.

A multi-professional team will support the Improvement Collaborative, with experience in surgery, psychology, Quality Improvement (QI) and QI project support. They will offer a series of online and in-person events as well as wider activities, including one-to-one participant organisation coaching and cross-organisation peer group support.   

We anticipate a core team of three-four people at each participant trust or health board will access this support through our structured Improvement Collaborative programme. The core team will then be able to disseminate their learning to build capacity and capability locally and improve practice in supporting surgeons after harm across the UK. We also would hope to use the Improvement Collaborative to share expertise and best practice on a peer-to-peer mutually beneficial basis and to build local and national expertise in this critically important field through the improvement expertise and wider support networks provided by RCS England and its surgical community. 

The Improvement Collaborative will further develop the Supporting Surgeons After Adverse Events good practice guidance and offer practical advice and strategies to implement global best practices in supporting surgical wellbeing. It will support participating surgical team members to create, develop, and evaluate a unique new ecosystem of support for surgeons after adverse events.


The project will be an 18-month project with a 12-month live phase.

  • Recruitment, payment and pre-launch
    July 2023 – November 2023
  • Set-up and planning
    November 2023 – December 2023
  • Improvement Collaborative – live phase
    January 2024 – December 2024
  • Evaluation and reporting
    January 2025 – March 2025

Find out more about our SUPPORT Collaborative project here.

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