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A letter from Sussex Place, April 2011

A new logo and a new electronic newsletter!.... Welcome to The Scanner …

What do you think of when you think of the RCOG? The exam you have sat, or will be sitting? CPD? Setting standards (What does that mean? I hear you say)? Your thoughts and views will no doubt be varied - and the public have even less of an idea as to what the RCOG is all about! Most think that it's a college for training specialists - some truth in that, but not really identifying our main aims as a charity to lead and improve women's healthcare.

The College is very keen to improve communication not only with Members and Fellows, but also with the public and those organisations influencing or involved in healthcare provision. With limited but essential marketing advice, a huge amount of research and wide debate, a new logo and strapline have been launched.

The use of the shield, a new strapline, and a clean, fresh, modern, immediately recognisable design brings the RCOG into a new era. At the same time, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the new portals of communication with Members and Fellows-this, The Scanner, the monthly electronic news and RCOG Membership Matters, the six-monthly hard copy bulletin of information and professional issues, the first edition of which will be received by you over the next few weeks.
The world daily news has, unfortunately, been static. The turmoil in the Middle East, the repercussions of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the financial constraints within many countries have dominated without much optimism of improvement. Hidden behind these events have been worrying developments in our field of practice. Not only the worry as to what the new NHS has in store but major concern about the Confidential Enquiries. For over 50 years Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths have paved the way in audit and have been heralded as a key influence in reducing maternal deaths and improving care. The Enquiries have been held in the highest esteem across the world. It will therefore come as a shock - I should say a travesty - to most obstetricians to hear that, for now at least, the NPSA has "agreed to discontinue the procurement process for the maternal and newborn programme with immediate effect". The RCOG is pressing for clarification and demanding transparency and an urgent review to ensure that this invaluable process is re-established forthwith.

Now for ethics. The new RCOG Ethics Committee, under the leadership of Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charities Commission, is looking for Members and Fellows with an interest, and ideally credentials, in ethics. With top quality lay members already agreed for this committee, this is an opportunity to become involved in matters at the heart of women's/reproductive healthcare. If you are interested, please contact my office (dwieloch@rcog.org.uk), to ask for an application form and more details about the selection process.

Once again I am on my way back to Norwich with spring thankfully very much in evidence. After on-call last weekend I am looking forward to being at home and would love to watch the cricket final but have my chores to do - unfortunately the garage needs clearing out! I know that many of our members are fond of cricket and the tournament in India has been superb.
So that's it for now. Much is happening and, as ever, we wish for your involvement. Welcome to the new era, and the new The Scanner ; constructive feedback is always well received!

Best wishes

Richard Warren

RCOG Honorary Secretary

PS. I did watch the match – congratulations to India, commiserations to Sri Lanks, a great game!
If you have any comments, please write to letterfromsussexplace@rcog.org.uk