4 April 2024

4 April 2024

Dear RCSI community,

I would like to first start by thanking those of you who have been in touch in recent weeks to share your enthusiastic response to the recordings of the three keynote talks delivered at Charter Week 2024, which I circulated in last month’s Surgical Bulletin. It was important for me to highlight these wonderful lectures delivered by Michael J. Dowling, Fergal Keane and Professor David Nott respectively and I am pleased that they resonated with so many of you who could not attend Charter Week in person.

Over the course of the last number of weeks, I have had the opportunity to travel to and meet with Fellows and Members in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

I visited RCSI Bahrain’s campus where I met with Professor Sameer Otoom, President of RCSI Medical University of Bahrain. 2024 is an auspicious year for our colleagues in RCSI Bahrain, who celebrate the 20th anniversary of the University. This was commented on when, along with Professor Otoom, I met with the British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, His Excellency Mr Alastair Long, who spoke of the role RCSI plays in cementing strong healthcare ties between Bahrain and Western Europe.

While on campus, I also attended the launch of RCSI Bahrain’s new campaign on Colorectal Cancer Awareness led by Dr Husain Nasaif, Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Director of the BSc Nursing Programme. The campaign aims to promote the importance of screening as a prevention for this prevalent disease in Bahrain.

During my trip I also had the pleasure of visiting medical facilities in Bahrain and met Brig (Prof) Fahad Khalifa Al-Khalifa, who is in charge of medical services in the region.

In mid-March, I travelled to Abu Dhabi to celebrate the conclusion of a four-month Executive Leadership Programme, which was the result of a collaboration between RCSI’s Graduate School of Healthcare Management and PureHealth, the largest healthcare organisation in the UAE. I truly value the connectivity that such visits provide as they afford me the chance to meet with and connect with the ever-growing number of Fellows and Members in this region and to hear of the challenges and opportunities facing you.

During the month, we read of a new study from the RCSI Beaumont Cancer Centre which has found that a long-established method of mastectomy surgery for breast cancer is as safe and effective as newer technologies and achieved equally good outcomes for patients. I wish to extend my congratulations to one of our Fellows, Professor Arnold Hill (FRCSI, 1992) who was the senior author on the study that was published in the British Journal of Surgery, as well as Dr Stephen Keelan (MRCSI, 2021), who was first author on the study.

Looking ahead, there are a number of exciting events on the horizon for Fellows and Members. On foot of last month’s Surgical Bulletin, a large number of Fellows and Members registered their interest in attending the Association of Women Surgeons Meeting that will take place on Friday, 31 May 2024 from 9am-1pm in the Albert Lecture Theatre, RCSI. The theme of the meeting is Nurturing Our Future – The Role of Mentorship and Sponsorship. If you have not already done so, I invite you to express your interest so that you may then receive full details of the programme once it is finalised.

The Association of Surgeons in Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) will hold its International Surgical Conference in Belfast from 8-10 May. Representing RCSI, on Thursday, 9 May Professor James Paul O’Neill (FRCSI, 2010) will deliver the Robert Smith Lecture on the topic of ‘Horrid Butchery’ to Conservative Surgery – The Evolution of Well Differentiated Thyroid Cancer. I am sure that those of you present will enjoy the conference and Prof O’Neill’s talk.

That evening, to mark the occasion, RCSI will hold a Fellows and Members reception in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast from 6pm-7.30pm. Located just a stone’s throw from the conference venue, RCSI Fellows and Members who are attending the conference and indeed those who are practising in Belfast and beyond are welcome to RSVP to attend the reception, which will hopefully provide a wonderful chance to mingle, chat and connect.

Finally, the 2024 Millin Meeting will take place on Friday, 8 November. Can I please encourage you to save the date and advise that further details on the programme will follow.

With thanks and best wishes,

Professor Laura Viani

RCSI President