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Monthly blog from RCOG President

Blog 3 June 2021

Dr Eddie Morris writes to the membership…

This month is one of the most important in the RCOG calendar. From 9-12 June we are running our first ever virtual World Congress.

Last year you will recall we had to cancel our planned congress in Oman at relatively short notice due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This year the congress was planned to be in Hong Kong and again, will not be going ahead there for the same reasons. We are grateful to the local O&G societies and organisers in both these countries and hope very much that we can start travelling again soon.

We are naturally disappointed by not being able to meet our worldwide friends and colleagues face-to-face to exchange knowledge and network with others in the fashion that the RCOG World Congress is so well known for. Nevertheless, thanks to the wonders of technology, we are still able to bring the global O&G community together, albeit virtually, for what is sure to be another fantastic RCOG World Congress.

During the pandemic we have become well versed in delivering our many meetings and events digitally, so as a College it seems an entirely natural step to deliver our flagship event in this way. As of today, when this blog is published, we have 2,800 registered delegates from 88 countries. This is more attendees than our international Congresses in 2015 and 2017, and we are on course to top Singapore in 2018.

I am certain that such impressive attendance for our virtual event, is testament to the reputation the RCOG World Congress has built up over the years for delivering world-class presentations from leading O&G professionals.  Now, our World Congress is more accessible than ever before. You can attend wherever you are in the world and watch the content whenever you want. In my address at this year’s event, I will talk about the fact that whenever I am at large congresses with multiple streams I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), as one item in one stream clashes with another at the same time. In more modern times, it is now considered a little more acceptable to flit between streams physically if you are quiet. I love the fact that in these digital times, there is no need to miss a thing as your ‘entry ticket’ means you can watch all the presentations when you want at your leisure.

The RCOG World Congress is a truly global event. It’s not about the RCOG travelling the world and taking its opinions to other countries, far from it. Instead it is about Iistening and working with local organisations, societies, and health systems wherever we go. It is also an opportunity for RCOG officers and executive teams to meet up with all our International Representative Committees (IRC)  and Chairs. Meeting IRC Chairs at congress has been a huge privilege for me during my time as an Officer because I have been able to meet our global leaders all in one place and really understand their needs and where we can help. I have missed this during the pandemic response and really do look forward to the digital alternative during this year’s congress.

Whilst I am eager for the time we can meet in person once again, myself, the Officers and all the RCOG are excited about uniting digitally with the O&G global community to learn more about the latest developments in women’s health. Face-to-face meetings and collaboration will always be vitally important to the development of our profession, but I am grateful and excited at the opportunity digital technology affords us, now and in the future, to truly unite O&G professionals from across the globe.

At the end of May, the College’s deployment of digital technology facilitated the delivery of the largest diet of the Part 3 MRCOG. Run over eight days, more than 400 candidates were able to take the exam using our cutting-edge digital delivery solution. This diet included candidates in Hong Kong, Singapore and India, the first time the Part 3 has been able to run outside of the UK since the pandemic commenced. I am very grateful to the exams team and the numerous Fellow and Member examiners for the huge amounts of time committed by you all.

This month I wanted to let you know that the Department of Health and Social Care in England have asked the RCOG to perform a detailed analysis of the UK workforce in obstetrics. This large exercise plans to map the size of the workforce at various levels, its relation to local demographics and the risk profile of the local pregnant population amongst other factors. The aim of this project will not only be to understand the current state of affairs, but to help many agencies plan better for the future.

I would also like to wish a happy Pride month to all our members. As a College and a specialty, we know that diversity and inclusion is an absolute strength. This month provides us with the opportunity to take time to reflect on how, as a profession, we can celebrate the achievements and progress our societies have made, while recognising there remains much more to do.

It would be remiss of me not to mention everyone still suffering the effects of the pandemic, and especially our members around the globe. Whilst your country may not appear in the news headlines we know that many of you continue to struggle to deliver the standards of care that you normally aim for. Please don’t forget to get in contact with me if you feel there is anything else we at the RCOG can do for you.

Congress is the time when RCOG members and fellows think of their international colleagues – their successes and their struggles. Whilst we will miss the benefits of physical interaction this year, there are numerous ways we can still make those connections. Browse the attendee list for your global friends, use the congress messaging platform, Twitter, Facebook, email, ask a question during the live streams, or go old school and pick up the phone! For those of us supervising trainees who have had a paper accepted please don’t forget to log in, attend their presentation and give them feedback on how they did.

I am looking forward to ‘seeing’ you at congress if you are coming. Whether you are coming or not, I hope the rest of this month brings us all better news, wherever in the world we live and work.