Becoming Tomorrow’s Specialist follows two previous strategic reports, High Quality Women’s Health Care and Tomorrow’s Specialist, and provides a framework for professional development for all obstetrics and gynaecology specialists at all stages of their careers.
Jobs change over time and the flexibility, desire and ability to adapt to changing demands will be of paramount importance for the specialist of the future whether in academia or NHS practice.
Following the Francis inquiry, the RCOG published its Manifesto for Change last year which emphasised the need for putting the patient first, zero harm and patient safety, creating outstanding leadership and working together as teams of professionals, the importance of regulation, inspection and accountability and a focus on metrics and outcomes.
These principles are all embedded into this report. Becoming Tomorrow’s Specialist calls for a robust patient safety culture to be part of career development for the newly appointed specialist. It makes a number of recommendations including the development of a patient safety module in the educational package for the new specialist, and for there to be champions in patient safety within the specialty.
There is an emphasis in many chapters about working within teams and providing a platform for individuals to become incorporated into departments and to enable a smooth integration within units. This seamless transition will be fundamental to ensuring departments in future are more cohesive.
The report also recommends that the current CPD programme be enhanced to ensure it is aligned to the individual’s job plan and the needs of the patient and the service. This tailoring of CPD should be carried out throughout a doctor’s career and will be personal to the individual doctor. It also needs to enhance non-clinical skills such as team working, leadership, patient advocacy and safety.
Implementation of the recommendations is fundamental if this report is to be of value to all specialists. The importance of the individual responsibility of the specialist to develop appropriately cannot be over emphasised. Implementation groups will be formed to enable the College to drive forward the principles of change, particularly with a review of CPD.