9 November 2023

Dear RCSI community, 

When I began my term as President in June 2023, I identified the theme of ‘Shaping the Future’ as my central priority, and it also formed the theme for Charter 2023 which brought us a rich and varied programme and a wonderfully engaged audience.

This week, on Friday, 10 November, is our 46th Millin Meeting and Lecture. Held in memory of Mr Terrence J. Millin, past President of RCSI (1963-1966) and a pioneer in prostate surgery, the meeting will include a variety of talks and lectures on topics such as surgical research and surgical training, as well as the 46th annual Millin Lecture, recognising excellence in original surgical research. There is still availability to attend, please register here.

I am very much looking forward to welcoming many of you to Dublin for our Charter Meeting 2024 from Tuesday, 6 to Friday, 9 February for our ‘Rising to Challenges in a Changing World’ programme, a theme that resonates with us all.  If you haven’t already viewed the programme or registered, please do so here. The programme will include lectures on ‘Leading Healthcare into Transformational Change’, supported by Johnson & Johnson and ‘Technology of the Future for Irish Surgery’, alongside the 31st Carmichael Lecture, with Mr Fergal Keane, OBE, author and Irish Foreign Correspondent with BBC News, and the 99th Abraham Colles Lecture, to be delivered by Professor David Nott, OBE DSc,MD, FRCS, Professor of Practice (Surgery), Consultant Surgeon, Imperial College London.

Last month our Vice-President, Professor Deborah McNamara, received an Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons. Professor Deborah McNamara is an outstanding leader and role model for the surgical profession. Across her career she has emphasised the importance of quality improvement and evidence-based decision-making and her leadership continues to shape the delivery of surgical care in Ireland.

Our colleague Professor Kevin Barry, Director of National Surgical Training Programmes, was also inducted into the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeons. This honorary distinction recognises surgeon educators who have devoted their careers to surgical education and are considered leaders in their fields. I extend my sincere congratulations to both Professor McNamara and Professor Barry.

October was a very busy month of planning and engagement for everyone and brought me the opportunity to travel and meet more of our surgical community. A few weeks ago, I travelled to Boston to attend the ACS Clinical Congress. There I hosted the RCSI North American Chapter of Fellows Reception, a wonderful social occasion and a chance to catch up with more than 60 RCSI Fellows and Members from Ireland and around the world.

Closer to home, we travelled to the Cork International Hotel at the beginning of last month for what turned out to be a very productive ‘Southwest Roadshow’, an opportunity to listen and learn about the local concerns in the south and south-west of the country.

In attendance were over 40 surgical Fellows and Members, trainees and NCHDs at Cork University Hospital, Cork; Mercy University Hospital, Cork; Mallow General Hospital, Mallow; Bantry General Hospital, Bantry and University Hospital Kerry, Tralee. We heard presentations from Professor Paul Redmond, Mr Mark Dolan, Mr Adrian O’Sullivan, Mr Fuad Aftab and contributions from many others. I enjoyed robust conversations covering limits on clinical capacity, regional services, support for teaching, and training. I am looking forward to working in collaboration with our colleagues in the South and South-West to bring support in these areas.

October saw the launch of two new podcasts: RCSI’s Centre for Professionalism in Medicine and Health Sciences explores the complex topic of professionalism, which is at the core of the patient-clinician relationship and fundamental for patient safety and the delivery of highest-quality healthcare, details here, and a new human factors in healthcare podcast series is focusing on key issues within modern healthcare delivery and hear from leading experts and examine important lessons in patient safety, details here. Two wonderful additions to the library of RCSI knowledge and resources and really worth a listen.

With great pride I congratulate RCSI SIM Centre for Simulation Education and Research at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, who have achieved full reaccreditation for a four-year term from the Network of Accredited Clinical Skills Centres in Europe (NASCE), and also praised for establishing an internationally-recognised healthcare educational centre and commended for its integration into the Irish healthcare education system and for its positive impact on healthcare quality, costs and safety culture. Another wonderful achievement for RCSI and endorsement of the centre’s dedication to the highest standards of simulation education and research.

I am so grateful to be affiliated to the achievements of RCSI and RCSI Fellows and Members and to collaborating with so many innovative, creative and talented individuals and teams.

Finally, I was delighted this week to launch and celebrate the publication of a new history of the College – Every Branch of the Healing Art: A History of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland by Dr Ronan Kelly. The beautifully illustrated book tells the story of RCSI through its contributions to a near-quarter-millennium of surgical, medical and societal change. It charts RCSI's course from nineteenth-century body snatchers to the 1916 Rising, through two pandemics and two world wars, with a vivid cast of characters, and reaching right to the present day. A legacy of which we are all a part, and I would encourage you to purchase a copy here.

These past few months have created opportunities for me to meet and collaborate with so many of you in person, both here in Ireland and abroad and to hear of your work and achievements. I want to encourage you to share your insights and perspectives as we continue to support the surgical community and consider the future.


Professor Laura Viani

RCSI President


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