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Join the Specialists of Tomorrow Public Insight Group

This is an opportunity for the public to inform the new curriculum for doctors training in obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G).

The closing date for the core group has now passed.

If you are still interested in being involved via the wider consultation group, please do complete an expression of interest form and return it by midnight on Sunday 4 June 2017.

We’re looking for a wide range of people to join our public insight group and help us understand what patients feel are the communication skills and clinical knowledge that O&G doctors need to deliver the best possible care.

Read more about the group, the curriculum, and how to apply below.

What is the O&G curriculum?

The O&G curriculum is the content taught to doctors who have chosen to become specialists in the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. By this stage, trainees will have completed a medical degree and two foundation years of general training where they build on and develop their clinical and professional skills.

When they enter the 7 years of specialist training in O&G their learning follows the curriculum set by the RCOG which is approved by the General Medical Council (GMC). The curriculum aims to ensure that throughout these 7 years, trainees learn the knowledge and practice the skills they need to provide the highest quality care possible to their patients. Trainees have to log their learning and take written and practical exams and assessments throughout this time.

Read more about the training that O&G specialists undertake.

Why review the curriculum?

Keeping the curriculum up-to-date is extremely important so patients get the best care possible. Therefore changes to the curriculum occur every so often. This can be because new evidence or technology emerges which informs best practice for treatments. It could also be that particular health issues or outcomes become more common, as the population changes for example, so specialists need to learn more about particular areas when they’re training. When these changes happen, they are also approved by the GMC. 

The RCOG conducts a full review of the curriculum every so often to look at it as a whole. This is done by experienced obstetricians and gynaecologists who have a detailed understanding of what specialists need to know and what skills they must have to deliver safe, high quality care to patients. Trainees are also involved as they have current experience of how the curriculum works and will have ideas about useful changes they think could be made.

Why does the project need input from those using O&G services?

The RCOG is committed to involving people who use O&G services in all aspects of our work. Although the expertise of experienced O&G doctors and trainees is vital in revising the curriculum, they, and the College, realise that it’s only part of the picture. Involving people who use O&G services, and hearing what knowledge and skills they feel specialists of tomorrow should have, is also vital.

As well as medical knowledge and practical skills, specialists also need to be able to communicate with their patients to a high standard; supporting and empowering them to make informed choices about their care. Involving O&G service users in revising the curriculum will help to make sure that important elements like this, beyond only the necessary medical knowledge, are also covered in a meaningful and thorough way.  

How do we intend to achieve this?

We want to bring a together a group to inform the new curriculum from the perspective of those who use O&G services. We realise that this is really broad as there are so many different situations in which individuals are taken care of by an obstetrician and/or gynaecologist at all stages of life. Through fertility and pregnancy, gynaecological conditions - whether relatively common or rarer ones - to the menopause and many more. Doctors also serve a diverse population of individuals with varying needs relating to particular characteristics like age, culture, disability and gender identity. Therefore we want this group to be as representative as possible.

The key purpose of the group is to directly inform the new curriculum about what users of O&G services feel they need from their specialist. This includes what general skills and clinical knowledge they should have, as well as the skills to communicate with, and advocate for, their patients effectively.

Who will be in the public insight group?

The O&G Specialists of Tomorrow Public Insight Group will aim to include a varied cross-section of individuals with different O&G experiences and needs from across the UK. It may also include representation from individuals who have particular understanding of the needs of specific communities (either personally or professionally) and can represent the experiences and needs of those groups effectively. Please see the role description below for some of the range of individuals we are particularly looking for involvement from.

How will the group work?

The Specialists of Tomorrow Public Insight Group will be made up of two parts:

  • A core group of around 20 individuals. They will be selected to ensure there is a good cross-section of people represented. This group will meet face-to-face once for an initial workshop session on Friday 23 June 2017 to begin looking at what knowledge and skills members feel need to be covered. After this, the group will be coordinated virtually via email to gain further insight and input as the new curriculum develops, although there may be a need for further face to face workshops in the future.
  • A wider consultation group will bring a broader pool of views into the project. This group will be via email only. The group will be consulted with based on initial feedback from the workshop and throughout the development of the curriculum.

Both the core and the wider group will play a crucial role in informing the new curriculum over the next year. Both groups will be communicated with regularly to gain insight and feedback will be given to members about how the new curriculum is progressing.

Should I apply?

If you are passionate about the health of O&G service users, and want to bring your experience and understanding of your/their needs, you are welcome to apply to join either the core group or the wider email group. You don’t need to know anything about educational curricula, or have any specific qualifications. As well as welcoming individuals to apply, we also welcome applications from organisations that represent particular groups of individuals so their voice can input into this work.

We know that many people have a particular passion about a specific condition, outcome or a particular population group, and we welcome this wide range of interests, experiences and knowledge. However, it’s also very important that members of the group are able to take into account the “big picture” of the curriculum, and how important it is that specialists’ knowledge and set of skills is broad and well balanced so they can take care of the wide variety of patients they will be working with throughout their career. Therefore, members of the group must be able to take an informed, open minded and balanced viewpoint when involved in this project.

Core group or wider consultation group?

Please see the role description (Word document, 55kb) which explains the important attributes for members of the core and the wider consultation group.

If you are keen to join the core group, you must be available to attend the initial workshop day on Friday 23 June 2017 from 10:00am to 2:30pm here at the College in central London. Travel and overnight accommodation will be organised if needed.

The expression of interest form (Word document, 54kb) asks you why you want to join the group and what you feel you will bring to it. It also asks you to highlight your personal experience and some information about yourself. It would be very helpful if you can provide this information so we can make sure the group includes a wide range of people and perspectives. The information you provide will be treated confidentially and you will not be required to disclose this information further as a member of the group. However, if you are applying to join the core group, members will be expected to use their personal perspective to inform discussion at the workshop so it is important that you feel comfortable doing so.

Reflecting on personal situations can be emotional for some people, and the workshop will encourage discussion informed by a wide variety of experiences. We do not want involvement to cause any unnecessary distress so, if you feel discussing your personal experience face to face may be too difficult, the wider virtual group may be the best option for you. 

How to apply

The closing date for the core group has now passed.

If you are still interested in being involved via the wider consultation group, please do complete an expression of interest form and return it by midnight on Sunday 4 June 2017.

  • Please read the above information and the role description (Word document, 55kb) thoroughly.
  • Complete and return the short expression of interest form (Word document, 54kb) to by midnight on Sunday 4 June 2017.
  • Please specify when applying whether you would like to join either the core group or the wider consultation group.

All expressions of interest will be considered after the closing date and you will be contacted within 10 days.

Please note, if you need any assistance to complete the expression of interest form, or you would like to speak about the opportunity further before applying, please get in touch with Kerrianne O’Rourke (Patient & Public Involvement Coordinator) or telephone 020 7772 6492.

We look forward to your involvement in this project.