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Our President

Mike McKirdy - President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

I take pride in the two mottos on our College coat of arms. On the base, the words “Non vivere sed valere vita”, from Martial’s Epigrams which in rough translation mean ‘not just to live but to have a healthy life”. At the top, “conjurat amice”, from the Roman poet Horace, which means ‘joined in friendship’. I extend that hand of friendship to each one of you. I believe there is great strength in our community of friendship and professionalism that spans different areas of healthcare and the globe – it is what sets us apart as a College.


Mike McKirdy graduated from the Glasgow University Medical School in 1985 and after surgical training in the west of Scotland, London and Manchester, was appointed a consultant surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital Paisley in 1997. Over the next few years, Mike was able to establish breast reconstruction surgery at Paisley and bring the breast services at the three Clyde hospitals into a single unit. In 2010, the growing specialist team was also able to repatriate breast screening referral and now diagnoses and treats over 350 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients each year.

Mike became involved with the College as a trainee interested in surgical education and signed up for one of the first Training the Trainer courses at the College in 1995. From there, he became involved in teaching on the basic skills courses and as a young consultant set up and led a weekly educational programme for the west of Scotland basic surgical training scheme based in College.

He joined College Council in 2005 and served two terms as a regional Councillor before becoming a Vice President (Surgical) during Frank Dunn’s time as President.

Mr McKirdy has been a Professional Advisor to the Scottish Government’s Global Citizenship Programme, and is National Clinical Lead for Breast Services.

Questions for the President

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

I have been very fortunate in my career to have worked with many excellent colleagues, and if there have been highlights or achievements, then they have been very much a result of team effort. As I look back across my clinical career, work in Scottish Government and College, a few things stand out. Firstly the clinical service for breast patients in Clyde. Secondly the Livingstone Fellowships which have allowed trainees to come from Malawi and Zambia to work in the Scottish NHS before returning home with new skills and ongoing support to help them develop their specialties. Thirdly the Global Citizenship Programme, which is now so well established within the Scottish NHS. Without doubt, however, the greatest highlight is having the opportunity, and privilege, to serve as College President.

What will you focus on in your three-year term?

I am clear that we should continue the work established by my predecessor as President, Professor Jackie Taylor, on workforce, wellbeing and inclusivity. These were prescient priorities for College to be working on as the pandemic began and are now all the more essential as we recover from the impact of Covid on health services. In that regard I would like us to consider not just restoring, or recovering, the NHS in the UK, but to take this opportunity to adapt and renew our services, improving them for patients and our health workforce alike.
As we do so, we need to be mindful of sustainability and climate change issues, recognising the impact of climate change on health, addressing the NHS’s own carbon footprint and recognising the actions which we can all take to mitigate the rise in global temperature.
I will also make College’s global health work a priority. The pandemic has helped collective understanding that the health of people elsewhere is intrinsically linked to our own and I very much hope that we can continue to speak out on issues like equity of access to vaccines.

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