23 September 2022

Dear Fellows and Members,

As we welcome students and surgical trainees back to campus for the start of the new academic year, I am very pleased that 40% of our new intake of 81 Core Surgical Trainees have already passed part A of the MRCS exams, with 15% having also passed part B. The average age of new CSTs is 28 years, and 39% are female, an encouraging sign that more women will advance in the profession.

RCSI is dedicated to inspiring quality and to maintaining the highest standards and to ensuring better outcomes for patients. This mission underpins all our accomplishments, and starts with education. This month, RCSI launched the new ‘CPD Hub’ education platform, developed to meet the challenges faced by NCHDs in modern day healthcare. The platform includes over 110 face-to-face and online courses, focusing on both clinical and non-clinical skills and will support the professional development of NCHDs in surgery, emergency medicine, and other medical specialties.

New guidelines on best practices in adrenal surgery, with a particular focus on endocrine adrenal surgery, developed by a short-lived working group (SLWG) convened by immediate past RCSI President Professor P. Ronan O’Connell and chaired by Professor H. Paul Redmond, emphasised the importance of collaboration. The guidelines recommend that centres undertaking kidney surgery should offer seamless, timely and expert care within a multidisciplinary team, and that kidney surgeons should undertake a minimum of six adrenalectomies a year and 12 per year per centre where adrenocortical cancers are being performed. The short document outlines the current service, relevant issues and recommendations for the future.

On the subject of collaboration, Ireland’s newly OECI-accredited cancer centre, the Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre, an innovative partnership between Beaumont Hospital, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, led by Medical Director Professor Patrick Morris, held its first conference in Dublin on Thursday, 22 September 2022. The inaugural cancer conference brought together healthcare professionals, academics and key stakeholders to present the Cancer Centre’s vision for comprehensive cancer care in Ireland.

A fruitful collaboration too is the study by clinical colleagues at St James's Hospital and researchers at RCSI as part of the Irish COVID-19 Vasculopathy Study (ICVS) collaboration investigating the link between Long COVID and blood clotting. The team’s research, led by Professor James O'Donnell at the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences with Dr Helen Fogarty as Clinical Fellow, has been published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

With more than 1,600 candidates sitting the MRCS with RCSI, a figure growing year on year both within Ireland and internationally, we are recruiting new clinical examiners. We invite applications for clinical examiners from Fellows in active clinical practice in the following locations: Ireland, UK, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to apply. To find out more please contact courtofexaminers@rcsi.ie.

It was a privilege to host RCSI's Alumni Gathering 2022 last month, the first in-person reunion in three years, with 36 class years from 20 countries represented. Tours of 26 York Street, a Memorial service, and the Scientific Meeting, with more than 30 speakers, entertained more than 700 alumni. It was wonderful to welcome back those celebrating 50 and 60 years since their graduation for a jubilee ceremony. Alumni were delighted to hear that student engagement is still a priority at RCSI with the news that the School of Medicine at RCSI has been named joint recipient of the 2022 ASPIRE to Excellence Award for Student Engagement, a great boost for us following the award as Sunday Times University of the Year for Student Enagement 2021.

Looking to the future, I will be visiting hospitals around Ireland in the coming months and engaging with consultants and trainees on the issues that affect them. Our first RCSI ‘Doing the Rounds’ Roadshow will take place at the RCSI Education Facility, Waterford Regional Hospital on Thursday, 27 October from 5pm to 7pm. I invite all surgical Fellows and Members, trainees and NCHDs from University Hospital Waterford, Wexford General Hospital, South Tipperary General Hospital and St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny, to give us the opportunity to meet with you to listen to your views and hear your concerns about local issues, so that we can support you. You can register for the Waterford Regional meeting here.

Our events calendar for Fellows and Members also saw the return of our popular webinar series on Wednesday, 21 September at 6pm (the first webinar will be chaired by Professor Calvin Coffey and highlighted Modern Advances in the Management of Colorectal Cancer). You watch the Surgical Matters webinar here.

And I invite all Fellows and Members travelling to the ACS Clinical Congress to join me for a special RCSI reception on Monday, 17 October from 5–7pm in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, San Diego Marina. Please register here if you would like to attend the ACS Clinical Congress.

Thank you to all the Fellows and Members who give their time so generously to support both the College and me personally in my role as President.

With many pressing challenges for the profession, it is more important than ever that we work together.

Best wishes,

Professor Laura Viani
President, RCSI