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Officers' update, October 2014

Clare McKenzie, Vice President for Education writes…

I am often asked what it is like being Vice President. One year into the role it is a good time to reflect on this.

I have visited a number of regions both in the UK and abroad and regularly meet Fellows and Members who are trying to offer their patients the best care while finding themselves constrained by various issues. Obviously these vary depending upon the region within which they work, however, there are more similarities than differences. These are largely a lack of resources and time.

In the UK, the service is under stress from difficulties in staffing rotas and a requirement to comply with targets. It is recognised that trainee numbers are not likely to increase, so alternative staffing solutions need to be considered. The Vice President of UK Affairs and I organised a workshop for Council dedicated to discussing potential options. We intend to continue this work and develop a practical resource for clinical leads which reviews different models.

As Officers, we are aware that to provide quality patient care we need to establish clear guidance around workload – with that in mind the RCOG will review the gynaecology and maternity standards. We need to take account of complexity of caseload, patient requirements for information and time required for training. This work will take place over the next year.

As you will know, last week our Working Party report, Becoming Tomorrow’s Specialist, was published. This provides recommendations for ensuring specialists put patient care at the centre of our own development in terms of clinical skills and non-clinical skills. For all of us this means ensuring that we monitor our outcomes, continue to be up to date in all aspects of the care we provide and ensuring our teams work well.

For those involved in education, RCOG has just launched the Faculty Development Framework for medical educators – this describes an escalating tier system that sets out how to progress within medical education and specifically in College education roles. I hope that this will encourage more individuals to become involved in College work. Opportunities to become involved are regularly posted on the website – please put your name forward. Your views and ideas are very welcome and if you have thought about volunteering in the past but decided against it – next time I would ask that you do. We would love to have new faces.

Lastly I would like to ask for your support for our trainees. We have a very dynamic group of trainees involved in the Trainees Committee who have established a national audit group. I would ask senior colleagues to support their development in the area of national audit through supporting the local trainees and the local trainee leaders. Their aim is to forge a network that can undertake robust national audits – their enthusiasm and ambition bodes well for the specialty.

So what is it like being a Vice President? The opportunity to affect change that will help is hugely rewarding, the pace at which things move is frustrating. But it continues to be a wonderful job.