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RCOG release: Patient safety needs to be at the centre of professional development for all specialists, says new RCOG report

News 8 October 2014

The ethos of patient safety should be ingrained into the professional development of every doctor throughout their careers, placing the patient at the centre of their care, states a new Working Party report published today by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

This new report, Becoming Tomorrow’s Specialist, follows two previous strategic reports, High Quality Women’s Health Care and Tomorrow’s Specialist, and provides a framework for professional development for all specialists at all stages of their careers.

The report also calls for a major review of the continuing professional development (CPD) programme to make sure it is aligned with appraisal and revalidation, with a greater emphasis on patient safety within the process.

Following the Francis inquiry, the RCOG published its Manifesto for Change last year which emphasised the need for putting the patient first, zero harm and patient safety, creating outstanding leadership and working together as teams of professionals, the importance of regulation, inspection and accountability and a focus on metrics and outcomes.

These principles are all embedded into this new working party report.  Becoming Tomorrow’s Specialist calls for a robust patient safety culture to be part of career development for the newly appointed specialist. It makes a number of recommendations including the development of a patient safety module in the educational package for the new specialist, and for there to be champions in patient safety within the specialty.

The report calls for the current CPD programme to be enhanced to ensure it is aligned to the individual’s job role and the needs of the patient and the service. This tailoring of CPD should be carried out throughout a doctor’s career and will be personal to the individual doctor. It will be more patient-focused and places greater emphasis on reflection, enabling specialists to learn from their experiences and review challenging clinical cases. It also needs to enhance non-clinical skills such as team working, leadership, patient advocacy and safety.

The report also looks at core clinical skills, developing as a specialist and buddying, coaching and mentoring which emphasise the importance of being part of an integrated team and outline the different areas of support that exist for new specialists.

Implementation groups will be set up to ensure that the recommendations in the report are taken forward, particularly around the review of CPD.

Ian Currie, Chair of the Working Party and RCOG Vice President for UK Affairs, said:

“Following the Francis report, the focus on patient safety has never been greater and the RCOG is committed to ensuring that this is embedded into everything we do.

“Becoming Tomorrow’s Specialist ensures that a patient safety culture is part of the future development of all specialists. The improvements to our CPD programme will also be of huge benefit to the patients we serve with greater emphasis on non-clinical skills such as team working, patient advocacy and safety.

“Moreover specialists need a network of support and guidance, not only for career guidance and clinical education, but for learning about patient safety and fostering an environment of openness and transparency.

“Implementation of the recommendations is fundamental if this report is to be of value to each and every one of us. The main themes in the report are also of interest to all healthcare professionals and it could be used across other specialties.”


For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email


  • To view High Quality Women’s Health Care, please click here.
  • To view Tomorrow’s Specialist, please click here.
  • To view the RCOG’s Manifesto for Change, please click here.