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Council précis, September 2021

Overview of the Council meeting which took place on 17 September 2021.

President’s update

Mr Edward Morris, RCOG President, reported on the following activities:

  • The College, in partnership with FIGO and ACOG, has developed an international childbirth Bill of Rights. The Bill launched on World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) on 17 September. In the lead up to WPSD, the College used social media and member communication channels to highlight our ongoing work to improve patient safety in the UK.
  • Council supported the College’s zero tolerance stance on virginity testing and hymenoplasty and the work to ensure these practices are banned on the grounds that neither has any medical benefit, except in specific circumstances such as forensic examination. This is one of many of the College’s key recommendations in the briefing submitted to the Health and Care Bill Committee, highlighting how the Bill should be strengthened to better reflect the health, care and wellbeing needs of women in the UK.
  • The RCOG’s work to increase the number of pregnant women receiving a COVID 19 vaccination is proving effective, with an additional 20,000 vaccinations for pregnant women provided in the last few weeks. A considerable risk remains for the pregnant population, so this work continues to be a critical priority for the College.
  • A progress report on the work of the Race Equality Taskforce (RET) was presented to Council. The RET is a cross-college project that guides the RCOG’s work to understand and address racism, bias and health inequities within the O&G specialty and in women’s health outcomes. The RET brings together the leading voices and most influential stakeholders in this area with the shared passion and commitment to address some of the most high profile and complex issues facing our profession.

Clinical Quality update

Professor Tim Draycott, Vice President for Clinical Quality, reported on the following activities:

· The College’s work with Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement is progressing with the App now live and practical implementation mobilised in four participating Trusts.

· Progress continues to be made with the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA). Both the NMPA annual 2017/18 clinical report and Inequalities by race and deprivation sprint audit report have been submitted to funders and are due for publication in October and November, respectively

· Council received a presentation on phase one of the Avoiding Brain Injuries in Childbirth (ABC) Programme. The key aim for this programme is to move away from focusing on cardiotocography (CTG), to a more personalised approach to monitoring for women. One that takes into account multiple factors to build an end-to-end, standardised system to ensure accurate response, including supporting appropriate escalation and action.

Global Health update

Miss Ranee Thakar, Senior Vice President for Global Health, reported on the following activities:

  • The College has been awarded a $250k grant from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) over two years to support work to advocate for the UK government to maintain its global commitment to women and girls’ health, and return official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI)
  • Council discussed the proposed change to the eligibility criteria for the position of IRC Chair to allow Members, in addition to Fellows to stand for an IRC Chair position in countries where there are fewer than 50 active Fellows and Members. Council approved this motion in principle subject to further clarification.
  • Council provided feedback to support the further scoping of the proposed RCOG Educational Observership Programme. The aim of this activity is to disseminate knowledge in specific sub-specialist areas in O&G by offering the opportunity for international observers to visit approved RCOG host sites.
  • Council were asked to consider the ways they can support the development and delivery of two upcoming high profile RCOG conferences; the Annual Professional Development (APD) and RCOG World Congress 2022

Membership update

Mr Pat O’Brien, Vice President for Membership, reported on the following activities:

  • The first membership ceremonies in 18 months, and the first from our new home in Union Street, took place on 16 September. The event went smoothly and was live-streamed on Facebook, garnering many positive comments from around the world. A further 140 new members will be admitted at three forthcoming ceremonies on 15 October.
  • The College recently reached out to AAC assessors, offering them the opportunity to take on additional responsibility and share the workload of Council in reviewing and approving job plans. More than 60 individuals volunteered to provide assistance, for which we are very grateful.
  • Council ratified the 2021 awards, prizes and bursaries. An online platform was introduced in 2020 to streamline the submission and review process for awarding these prizes, and all awards are reviewed independently by a panel of academic experts.
  • Council approved the 15 nominations selected for Honorary Fellowship, eight honoris causa and seven ad eundem, and the elevation of 55 members to Fellowship.

Workforce and Professionalism update

Dr Jo Mountfield, Vice President for Workforce and Professionalism, reported on the following activities:

  • Council’s attention was drawn to the work of the task and finish group considering the gender pay gap. Further action is now anticipated and the implications for the College need to be considered.
  • A proposal for the potential future of the RCOG invited review service (IRS) was discussed in depth. The RCOG’s previous maternity service review offering, paused since 2019, was high risk to the College and continues to incur cost and reputational challenges. Council requested that given the complexity and potential reputational impact of any decision taken concerning the RCOG’s IRS offering, that further investigation is required.
  • During the afternoon session, Dr Jo Mountfield led a Council workshop on the subject of Emergency Gynaecological Operating Provision and Gynaecological advanced training.

Education update

Miss Sue Ward, Vice President for Education, reported on the following activities:

  • In advance of the old CPD ePortfolio’s closure at the end of 2021, all users are strongly encouraged to use the new functionality introduced in August to download and export their existing CPD records. The College will also keep an archive of all current member and fellows CPD data. If any constituents are experiencing any issues with the new platform, they are encouraged to email for technical support
  • Some areas of the UK are beginning to cancel routine operations again as COVID admissions increase. There is a growing risk that there is a cohort of trainees very short of operating experience. This was noted as an ongoing challenge for the College to monitor.
  • The initial findings from the 2021 GMC Trainer and Trainee survey and Education Supervisors survey will be reviewed alongside the findings from our own TEF survey to help the College assess what improvements and action is required.
  • Following concerns expressed from UK Trainees, a decision has been taken to run the November 2021 MRCOG Part 3 UK examination as a remote digital event, rather than face-to-face. In addition, the challenges relating to the global backlog of candidates wishing to take the MRCOG Part 3 exam was discussed with the feedback of Council noted. Further overseas centre expansion was confirmed for 2022.

CEO’s update

Kate Lancaster, RCOG CEO, highlighted the following item from the Council CEO report:

  • The College is in the process of recruiting two Council members onto the newly established Business Development and Commercial Group to provide oversight and scrutiny on the RCOG’s broader commercial activity. In addition and following on from the discussion at July’s meeting of Council, the process for the approval of commercial opportunities has been strengthened by developing a commercial partnership principles checklist.

Presentation from regional representatives

Council welcomed a presentation from RCOG Scottish Fellows and Members representatives, Kirsty Dundas, Alastair Campbell and Lucky Saraswat, covering the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Scottish Women’s Health Plan and workforce challenges

Academic update

Emma Crosbie, Chair of the Academic Board, reported on the following activities:

  • The Clinical Research Skills Study Day took place on 16 September and welcomed 40 engaged attendees.
  • The ‘Research for all’ survey will go out to all Fellows and Members in the Autumn with the aim of identifying barriers to involvement in research
  • The Academic Board has supported the development of a proposal to restructure and rebrand the existing Research Committee as RCOG Research. Council debated this proposal and supported the move to this new structure.

FSRH update

Janet Barter, of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, reported on the following activities:

  • The Faculty’s new VP team will be officially ratified at the FSRH Council meeting in October
  • The revised CSRH curriculum and assessment framework is now live. A number of events and assets to support trainees and supervisors to navigate the new journey are being prepared