6 July 2023

Dear Fellows and Members,

It is midsummer, and this week we celebrated our July Conferring Ceremonies. I was delighted and proud to be able to celebrate with 98 new RCSI Fellows and Members in person and 100 in absentia who were awarded their FRCSI and MRCSI, alongside 46 Fellows, Members and Diplomates in person and 357 in absentia from the Faculty of Dentistry. I also presented Mr Martin James Kelly, RCSI Fellow with the Sir Walter Mercer Medal, awarded each year to the candidate who has obtained the highest marks in the Intercollegiate Specialty Examination in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, across the four Royal Colleges. These are all wonderful achievements and my warmest and sincere congratulations to them all.

It was also my great honour to present Professor Patricia Joy Numann, Lloyd S. Rogers Professor of Surgery Emeritus, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, New York; Professor Paul Brennan, Consultant Radiologist, Bon Secour Hospital, Dublin and Professor James Drake, Surgeon in Chief, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, with Honorary Fellowship of RCSI.

Congratulations to our 16 new Fellows and Members who were conferred at RUMC Penang in June. Amongst those awarded a Fellowship ad Eundum, was Professor Raghu, Surgical Lead at Perdana University. It was wonderful to attend and to meet so many of our RCSI Alumni and local dignitaries and I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to congratulate Professor Premnath Nagalingamon and acknowledge his last conferring as Dean before his retirement from a 20-year career at RUMC.

Our events planning for autumn and winter is well underway now and, following a very productive visit to the midlands on 22 June, we look forward to visiting our colleagues in the south-east, as part of our ‘Doing the Rounds’ roadshow in October in Cork, as well as our north American colleagues at the Chapter of Fellows Reception in Boston on 23 October, during the ACS Clinical Congress. This year, the Millin Meeting takes place on Friday, 10 November 2023 and promises a packed programme around a theme of research, training and clinical trials. We welcome applications to deliver the 46th Millin Lecture. 

Plans for the 2024 Charter Meeting to be held on 6-9 February are well advanced. The 2024 meeting will feature symposia on 'Surgery Responding to Global/Environmental Change', 'Crisis Management: What Have We Learnt', 'Technology of the Future for Irish Surgery' and 'The Impact of War'. I am delighted that Mr Michael J. Dowling, President and CEO, Northwell Health and Professor David Nott, Vascular and Trauma Surgeon have agreed to deliver a keynote address.

In recent positive news I was delighted to attend the topping out ceremony for the RCSI Education Centre project at Connolly Hospital, where I unveiled a plaque to celebrate this milestone. I look forward to seeing its completion in 2024. Spanning three floors, the new facilities include lecture theatres, tutorial rooms, public cafe and atrium, student recreation space and new state of the art HSE laboratories.

Our recent collaboration with intuitive surgical in delivering robotic assisted training workshops to surgical specialties is a wonderful learning opportunity for our current and future trainees and aligns with our overall surgical training strategy to embed robotic assisted surgery within training programmes across all surgical specialties. In addition to the work around robotic surgery, the National Clinical Programmes for Surgery and Trauma and Orthopaedics, in cooperation with our colleagues in the anesthesia programme have also just launched a new e-learning module for the five stages of safe surgery.

We have also commenced a new programme aimed at enabling a more efficient and effective use of HSE theatre and procedure room resources. The National Perioperative Patient Pathway Enhancement Programme (NPPPEP) is an 18-month, data-driven programme which will bring together knowledge and insights from frontline theatre staff and operations departments from hospitals across Ireland.

We launched our new North Africa MRCS Part B Exam Centre adding to current centres in Europe, the Gulf Regions and South East Asia and increasing much needed exam capacity. At the same time we opened applications for a planned exam diet in Cairo on 29 September, which is already oversubscribed. The Surgical Affairs team need Fellows to volunteer to become Examiners. Please contact examiners@rcsi.ie if you think you can help.

I had the delight to present the RCSI Art Award for 2023, in association with the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and the Irish Times to Stephen Murphy, a Cork-born artist, for his work ‘Newborn (The hardest day of your short life yet)’. It was selected from a shortlist of five pieces drawn from more than 560 works on display at the 193rd RHA Annual Exhibition, Ireland’s largest and longest running exhibition of visual arts. Stephen was awarded the RCSI Silver Medal, a prize fund of €5,000 to progress his practice, and a €10,000 commission to create a new piece for the RCSI Art Collection.

Please don’t forget the July edition of Surgeons Scope magazine. If you haven’t received your copy, contact our Fellows and Members team. This edition is a great read and, as always, we celebrate the work of our accomplished Fellows and Members. If you have a topic you would like to feature in the next edition of Surgeons Scope I encourage you to contact Catherine Jordan at catherinejordan@rcsi.com in the Fellows and Members office.

Finally, it was with such sadness that I learned of the tragic death of Grace O’Malley Kumar in June, following an attack in Nottingham where she was studying. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to her family and friends. Daughter of Dr Sinéad O'Malley and Dr Sanjoy Kumar who are graduates of RCSI (both Class of 1994) and granddaughter of former RCSI Registrar Professor Kevin O'Malley, Grace was an incredible young woman.

A book of condolence is being shared with the family and you can email messages of condolences to Aíne Gibbons, Director of Development, to be collated and shared with the family at a later time.

Wishing you all well and happy holidays over the second half of our summer.

With best wishes,

Professor Laura Viani
RCSI President