25 June 2021

Dear Fellows and Members,

Midsummer is upon us and another academic year is complete. Many of you will be moving to your next training rotation or going on fellowship and some taking up a new consultant position. You have done yourselves and the nation proud by your commitment and dedication through the most difficult health crisis in generations. You will look back and wonder how time has flown, how much you have learnt and how your priorities may have changed.

This week marks the start of the postgraduate surgical and emergency medicine training year with core surgical trainees commencing on Surgical Bootcamp and 59 specialty trainees completing their virtual inductions. This year with the support of HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP), we have been able to increase our Core Surgical trainee number from 60 to 80 trainees and we plan to maintain this number going forward. This will increase our total intake to core training between Surgery and Emergency Medicine to 106 from 17 different countries outside of the EU. 

Since RCSI published 'Progress: Promoting Gender Equality in Surgery', the number of successful female candidates to surgical training continues to grow. In 2017, 27% of successful applicants were female but this has grown year and year to 46% this year. In total we will have 531 commencing their new rotations this July supported by 644 consultant trainers. I would like to congratulate them all on reaching this important phase of their career and wish them every success in the years ahead.

The new Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP), due to have been introduced last year, goes live in Ireland in July and in August in the UK. This week’s Wednesday evening webinar provided a comprehensive overview of the new curriculum and the change in emphasis to outcomes based assessment over competency based training and more holistic trainee assessment.

The end of training will be reached when supervisors agree that a trainee is performing at the level of a day-one consultant, able to manage the unselected emergency take, clinics and ward care, operating lists and multi-disciplinary working while demonstrating the generic professional behaviours required of all doctors. A new assessment called the Multiple Consultant Report (MCR) that encompasses the new concepts of the Generic Professional Capabilities (GPCs) and Capabilities in Practice (CiPs) will replace the current Work-place Based Assessments (WBA) that have proved onerous for both trainees and trainers. All involved with training should familiarise themselves with the new ISCP by watching the RCSI webinar and visiting the ISCP new curriculum website

As RCSI President the first year in office certainly has not been the experience I had expected – a campus at times almost deserted, no graduation handshakes, no overseas travel, endless hours on MS Teams or Zoom with little personal contact. Notwithstanding a potential delay in relaxation of restrictions in July, for the first time I believe we are through the worst of the pandemic and that the academic year 2021/22 will allow much more social contact, and maybe even overseas travel. 

Stay safe.

Kind regards,

P. Ronan O’Connell