RCSI Charter Meeting looks to the future of surgery

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The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) held the 2023 Charter Meeting in Dublin last week, with the theme of ‘Shaping the Future’.

The annual meeting, held at RCSI’s St Stephen’s Green campus, is a celebration of the granting of the Royal Charter to the College in 1784.

The meeting commenced on Saturday, 28 January with the Annual Meeting of the Irish Surgical Training Group (ISTG), which included the Bosco O’Mahony Lecture delivered by RCSI Council Member, Professor Michael Kerin. The lecture is named in honour of Mr John Bosco O’Mahony, one of the longest serving members of the RCSI Council. Professor Kerin delivered the prestigious lecture on ‘Irish surgery – A discipline in evolution: implications for training and practice’.

The National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA) held their Annual Conference as part of the Charter Meeting on Tuesday, 31 January. NOCA is a publically funded independent institution, based in and supported by RCSI. The meeting, on the theme of ‘Audit Matters’, looked at NOCA’s key achievements, as well as future objectives to develop national clinical audit across our healthcare system.

Also on 31 January, RCSI hosted the 17th Annual Intercollegiate Case Presentations, an annual competition that brings together the surgical societies of Irish medical schools. The winner of the David Bouchier-Hayes Award was Meadhbh Ní Mhiochain from the School of Medicine, University of Galway.

The Annual Health Service Quality Improvement and Innovations Conference was held on Wednesday, 1 February, hosted by RCSI National Clinical Programmes. The conference’s invited speaker was Mary Dixon Woods, Director of The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute and the Foundation Professor of The Healthcare Improvement Studies in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge. Wednesday afternoon also saw the Faculty of Surgical Trainers’ Meeting, parallel sessions from the RCSI Faculties of Dentistry and Nursing and Midwifery and the Irish Institute of Pharmacy, as well as the 33rd Annual VideoSurgery Meeting that evening.

Key symposiums were held across Thursday and Friday on the future of surgery and healthcare, including in terms of technology, training, clinical audit and cancer care. The final symposium on the configuration and staffing of safe surgical services included the official launch of RCSI’s ‘Surgery for Ireland’ report, which was presented to Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer.

The 45th Millin Lecture was delivered by Professor Shirley Potter, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at the Mater Hospital on ‘Malignant melanoma – an unlikely poster child for personalised cancer treatment’. The annual Johnson & Johnson Lecture on ‘Allies, advocates and change agents’ was delivered by Dr John G. Meara from Boston Children’s Hospital, who also received an RCSI Honorary Fellowship.

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Colles, RCSI Professor of Surgery after whom the Colles fracture is named, and this year’s esteemed Colles Lecture was delivered by Dr Luc Morris from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Journalist and campaigner Orla Tinsley delivered the 30th Carmichael Lecture. The annual lecture is named after former President of RCSI, Richard Carmichael, with previous speakers including Michael O’Leary, Catríona Perry, Fintan O’Toole and last year the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms Amina J. Mohammad. Orla spoke to delegates about 'What good looks like - from a patient perspective'.

RCSI President, Professor Laura Viani, told delegates: “Over the years the Charter Day Meeting has grown to reflect RCSI’s ever-expanding role and reach as a professional training body. This year’s meeting is focused on surgical care and planning for the future. We meet during a time of immense pressure in the Irish health services. These pressures are impacting both on patients and on the health care professionals who, as we know, remain dedicated to their welfare. Our gathering this week gives us the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and provide support to each other.”