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A letter from Sussex Place, September 2013

Mr Ian Currie, Honorary Secretary, writes…

I would like to start this month’s letter by giving thanks to Professor Wendy Reid and Professor James Walker.

My gratitude goes to both Jimmy and Wendy for their wisdom, support and personal guidance during their time in office as Vice President for Education and Senior Vice President for Global Health. I for one will miss the huge amount of knowledge that they have brought to the RCOG during the last 3 years of their tenure. I value their friendship hugely.

This team of Officers has been spearheaded by the leadership of President Tony Falconer whose unique calming style has enabled the College to move forward with change faster than ever before. I truly believe you will see the benefits of change in the forthcoming years as our new President, David Richmond takes over the guidance role.

I also have to touch on two items that are at the centre of the Colleges work. In October the College will launch its strategy for Global Health in the House of Lords and I will post more details in a future edition of The Scanner. There are indeed exciting times ahead for the College’s international presence, following the development of a Global Health Strategy 2013-17. We already do a lot of work internationally but we really wanted to focus on the College’s strengths as an organisation and widen our global reach. We will be working with countries that are committed to improving their health outcomes for women and girls, whether that is income generating for the College, or through raising funds from donations or grants. We already have a framework of international representatives but want to work more effectively with our International Representative Committees and Liaison Groups, as well as have an open and structured approach to developing global health projects.

To fulfill our aims it is imperative that we work closely with national governments, NGOs, other Royal Colleges and, more importantly, with the local healthcare professionals and communities.

Lastly, members may be aware of the constant media coverage on FGM in the UK over the past year. On the 10th anniversary of the FGM Act, many remain incredulous over how, despite knowledge that the practice still remains, there have been no prosecutions. This is an incredibly complex area of health and social care and may pose ethical dilemmas in some special cases. What is clear, is that FGM is a crime in the UK and the practice is tantamount to child abuse. The RCOG is now working with other colleagues from the RCM, RCN and Equality Now to develop recommendations for early identification and intervention. We share the same goal with the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service, which is to eradicate practice. If you have any questions about the RCOG’s domestic work on FGM, please email policy@rcog.org.uk.

Ian Currie
RCOG Honorary Secretary