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A letter from Sussex Place, October 2011

Wendy Reid, Vice President, writes....

I am delighted to write my first ‘Letter from Sussex Place’ as our new Honorary Secretary, Ian Currie, has just taken up his post. We are delighted to welcome Ian to the Officers’ team and look forward to his contribution to the college. It is a privilege to be a member of the team as we complete our first year in office.

It was a pleasure to see so many UK Fellows and Members at the recent International Scientific Congress in Athens. Despite the economic woes that Greece is suffering it was an excellent venue with high quality of the sessions. The next International Scientific Meeting is in Kuching, Malaysia, 5–8 June 2012, so please put this date in your diaries.

As well as exciting initiatives internationally which constitute a significant part of College business there are a number of important UK developments. While we continue to work closely with the Centre for Workforce Intelligence over our trainee and consultant numbers and the GMC on several consultations, the role of those consultants that provide the education and training of our juniors is less well valued. We are proposing therefore to provide certification for each consultant providing training and offer faculty development through different levels of commitment. This will ensure that all consultants who train are effective and ‘accredited’. The importance of valuing training and recognising those who provide for our trainees is vital in the world of appraisal and as we move towards revalidation. Further details of the Faculty Development will be unveiled at the forthcoming College Tutors meeting but, for now, all of us who offer training are considered to be Level 1 Faculty for the RCOG. The College will be developing and offering more training to enhance the popular Training the Trainers course and to help develop educational knowledge and skills for those with a major commitment to medical education.

The challenge of balancing the number of trainees entering our specialty with the future numbers of consultants required is always ongoing. The publication of High Quality Women’s Healthcare in July has given us a high level view of future services along both the life course of a woman and within clinical networks. This report has been well received by the CMO, senior health service management as well as political leaders. The ‘Life Course of a Woman’ approach champions a proactive preventative healthcare model rather than the present reactive view of health interventions in O&G. The development of a framework of networks covering all aspects and models of care provided is the methodology proposed in the report for service delivery. The need for consultants in the front line of services has been promoted by the RCOG consistently over the past decade and the future delivery of service through networks provides us with a political platform to argue for consultant expansion. This argument will be addressed and enhanced by the working party ‘Tomorrow’s Specialist’ due to commence this month under the Chairmanship of Baroness Julia Cumberlege.

To support the work of the Officers, Fellows and Members, there have been a number of changes to the support structures within the College. These reflect the increasing closeness between Education and International matters. There are a number of new faces within the executive and we have been very fortunate to attract such high quality individuals to develop the work of the College. It is vital that high quality educational developments in the UK are translated into global opportunities. The development of theoretical and practical courses and examinations is ongoing and there are new opportunities for the College aiding countries in developing their curricula and training programmes. The commitment of individual Fellows and Members to the core educational work and the wider international efforts of the College is one of the most impressive aspects of our specialty. As Officers we are aware that taking time out of the day to day work of the NHS is increasingly difficult for some of our colleagues. Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS, has reiterated his support for professional activities and the College, with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, continually asserts the importance of this element of our profession.

Wendy Reid
RCOG Vice President (Education)

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