10 July 2020

Dear RCSI Members and Fellows,

Monday next marks the annual NCHD changeover day for 548 Surgical and Emergency trainees who enter the next phase of their professional careers. On behalf of RCSI, but more importantly on behalf of the many thousands of patients you have cared for in the past year, I wish to express admiration and appreciation for your compassion, commitment and expertise. Many of you will look back at the past four months during the COVID-19 pandemic as being truly formative in your commitment to being a healthcare professional.

Many non-training NCDHs also changeover on Monday. I wish to acknowledge their contribution as without their dedication and commitment, delivery of surgical and emergency medicine services across our nation would not be possible. RCSI is committed to supporting all NCHDs to achieve their full potential by providing support for continuous professional development with modules tailored for both surgery and emergency medicine. I strongly encourage all eligible NCHDs in non-training posts to enrol in the programme to avail of CPD activities supported by the HSE. This year the programme will include over 100 courses, multi-day certificates, conferences and academic programmes delivered onsite in RCSI, in our regional centres and online to match the needs of these difficult times. The 2020/21 programme also gives access to a range of professional certificates and other academic programmes. Registration for the CPD Support Scheme opens on Monday.

Also on Monday, David Brinkman will take over as President of Irish Surgical Trainees Group (ISTG). As I welcome David and look forward to interacting with ISTG in the coming year, I would also like to acknowledge outgoing President Christina Buckley, who has been an outstanding representative over the past year. I encourage all trainees to actively engage with David and the ISTG Specialty Representatives as they work with RCSI to continually improve our training programmes.

The weekly webinars have recently become a feature of RCSI communication with Fellows and Members. The 18 sessions to date have been viewed live by more than 2,500 participants and there have been nearly 5,000 requests for video recordings of the episodes. This week’s webinar on Medicolegal Aspects of COVID-19 was a must-see led by RCSI Council Member Ms Margaret O'Donnell (Clinical Director, Blackrock Clinic), Dr Rob Hendry (MPS Medical Director) and Ms Mary Hough (partner, Hayes Solicitors). If you missed it, it can be accessed here.

Next week’s webinar will focus on The Positive Impact of Physician Associates in Irish Healthcare and will be introduced by Professor James Paul O’Neill (Medical Director, RCSI Physician Associate Studies) and will include presentations by Prof. Lisa Alexander (Director, RCSI Physician Associate Studies), Dr Eoghan De Barra (Consultant in Infectious Diseases) and Ms Kellie Nwaokorie (Physician Associate, Dept of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery). Sign-up to join the webinar here.

The National Clinical Programmes in Surgery have this week have published the following documents:

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of former Head Porter and Mace Bearer, and great friend of RCSI, Terry Slattery. Terry – well-known as the face of RCSI – will be fondly remembered by the extended RCSI community including Fellows, Members, Alumni, current and former staff. Terry was a true gentleman and his professionalism and dignity elevated any occasion. He joined RCSI in 1981 as Head Porter and Mace Bearer. As Mace Bearer, he oversaw the ceremonial procedures in Ireland and overseas for over 300 RCSI events, including Honorary Fellowship Conferring Ceremonies, Council Dinners, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Conferring Ceremonies. Some of these historic events included the Honorary Fellowship Conferrings upon Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1993, Nelson Mandela in 1996, Seamus Heaney in 1998, Garret Fitzgerald in 2002 and President James Earl Carter (Jnr) in 2007. He was particularly proud that his last event as Mace Bearer was at the Charter Day Dinner when President Michael D. Higgins was awarded an Honorary Fellowship. We extend our deepest sympathies to Terry’s family Karen, Yvonne and Michael in Dublin and his family in Rochester, New York. Professor Cathal Kelly and I will attend the funeral on behalf of the College and all the Fellows and Members who will fondly remember him.

Finally, this week we say goodbye to Professor Derek Alderson as he demits from the office of President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Prof. Alderson is a true Hibernophile with a deep knowledge of the the writings of Brian O'Nolan (better known as Flann O’Brien and Myles Na gCopaleen). I was very much looking forward to conferring him with an Honorary FRCSI last Monday, but sadly the convocation has had to be postponed. There will be other opportunities to sink a pint of plain!

Thank you for your ongoing commitment during these difficult times.

Keep safe,

P. Ronan O’Connell