|The President writes - January 2011|
|Saturday, 01 January 2011|
The first year of my Presidency and 2010 may be drawing to a close but the momentum in the College continues apace. There have been many positive events during the past year, all of which have brought a variety of benefits to the College in one way or another. Three success stories demonstrate the breadth of activities and affirm that the College continues to move forward.
We are delighted that, at the recent e-learning awards, the Edinburgh Surgical Sciences Qualification was given a gold award as the best online and distance learning programme. This partnership with the University of Edinburgh continues to go from strength to strength, with applications for entry continuing to increase in number.
Our Dental Faculty has also been extremely active, with membership numbers increasing by 28% over three years. Candidate numbers for the MFDS examination are exceeding expectations and the numbers for Part 2 are continuing to rise expeditiously. Indeed, the number of candidates for this exam, which is run jointly with RCPSGlasgow, has doubled in three years and a new centre, which will take candidates from 2011, has opened in Croydon.
Outwith our core surgical activities, we have enjoyed success also with our commercial initiatives. Ten Hill Place Hotel continues to scoop awards, the latest being two HotelClub Awards 2010 for outstanding service and outstanding value in Edinburgh. The arrival of Scott Mitchell as Commercial Director earlier this year has ensured that our income from these activities continues to grow, thus contributing funds for our professional aspirations, innovation and development without the need for significant increases in subscription income.
"Target-driven practice, an emphasis on service delivery and shift working have all led to reduced opportunities for contact between trainer and trainee"
I was delighted to take part in the celebrations in Hong Kong during September which marked the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong. The conjoint conference was an unqualified success and it allowed me to reflect on the enduring nature of our relationship with surgeons in Hong Kong which spans more than half a century and goes back to the days of Sir John Bruce and GB Ong. It is clear that this bond grows ever stronger with the passing years.
The ability to collaborate effectively with others is, I believe, one of our key strengths and during the year we have held discussions with specialty association presidents, university principals and others to establish ways in which we can best work together to tackle the common problems facing today’s surgeons. The relationship that we are developing with our Regional Surgical Advisers will be key to effective local communication with our membership on matters of importance, relevance and interest. Elsewhere, Honorary Secretary Mike Lavelle-Jones has written about our relationship with trainees and I am confident that the proposed addition to our Council will be a firm base on which to build a more effective relationship with our trainee members.
Over the past 12 months, we have developed new ways of working within the College which has moved the focus away from the set piece debates at formal Council meetings towards pragmatic short-life working groups (so far no fewer than 12) which have enabled us to deliver new ideas rapidly and successfully.
The relationship between trainer and trainee has once again come under scrutiny in recent months. The Collins report has highlighted concern over poor supervision of Foundation Doctors, and Sir John Temple emphasised the need to support those who train. Target-driven practice, an emphasis on service delivery and shift working have all led to reduced opportunities for contact between trainer and trainee, and the number of trainees is set to fall.
Never has there been a greater need for us to invest in surgical trainers. Council has decided, therefore, to take the lead by exploring the development of a Faculty of Surgical Trainers whose primary function will be to support surgical trainers in the delivery of high quality surgical training. We shall first consult with other interested groups including sister colleges, training and trainee organisations, GMC and others to ensure that the work undertaken by those who train the next generation of surgeons is both recognised and valued appropriately.
In October, I was invited by the presidents of our sister surgical colleges to take over the Chair of the Surgical Forum of Great Britain and Ireland for two years from January 2011. The Forum meets quarterly and facilitates discussion between the specialty associations and all four colleges and I hope that, in this role, I can bring the colleges and specialty associations closer together in order that we can tackle some of the major challenges during the course of the next two years.
Our College’s appetite for innovation and growth remains healthy. Our Membership in all categories continues to increase and, during the next 12 months, much of the current work in progress will come to fruition. I also look forward to meeting many more of you during 2011 as we continue our visits through our Regional Surgical Advisers.