President's update now in College voice

In the latest edition of our membership magazine “College voice”, College President Professor Jackie Taylor has written an update on her work on your behalf.

In the latest edition of our membership magazine “College voice”, College President Professor Jackie Taylor has written an update on her work on your behalf. The full update is below, and you can now read the rest of the magazine online here.

“As I write this piece for College Voice, I have just completed a weekend on call. Over the last 48 hours I have as always been impressed by the professionalism of the medical and nursing staff, by the cheerfulness in challenging circumstances and by the sheer hard work and goodwill which keeps the NHS afloat. I have been equally daunted by the volume of work, the shortages of staff, the inability to get the right patients in the right beds, the clunkiness of our steam driven IT systems and the increasing complexity of patients.

My decision making capacity is nearing its limit, and having seen my glazed expression, the family knows better than to ask me a difficult question such as “tea or coffee?”!

So what else have I been doing since my investiture? Despite having been involved in College in a variety of roles for 20 years, the learning curve is still a steep one. From the intercollegiate perspective, all three physician colleges have signed a new Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).

This will, I believe, provide a much more stable platform for future collaboration, with much more transparency and greater recognition of our contribution to Federation activities. In April the Chair of the Joint Surgical Colleges meeting will rotate to me: this will be an interesting experience for a physician but I will be ably supported by our two Surgical Vice Presidents.
In early February our International Director Professor Hany Eteiba and I did a whistle stop tour of India, Sri Lanka and Dubai. We both delivered lectures at the Association of Physicians of India Conference in a College session, and participated in CPD at Sri Ramachandra University, where I also had the pleasure of officially opening the education and examination centre which has been generously given to us by the Chancellor. We were warmly welcomed and hosted by the past and current Presidents of the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka and had a wonderful evening meeting some of our new members.

The subsequent terrorist attacks in the country have shocked us all, and I have since been in touch with our colleges there to offer our condolences and support.

On our way home we stopped in Dubai to visit the Tri-C Education Centre, an excellent facility with which we would be very keen to work in future.

It’s clear that while we may be smaller than some of the other institutions, our College is held in very high regard.

It’s a great privilege to connect with members and it is very apparent that there is no substitute for personal contact.

Everywhere we visited there is a real desire for us to assist with provision of educational events and exam preparatory courses, the challenges being to provide offerings which are deliverable and sustainable. This is a good time to welcome Fiona Winter our new Head of Education. Fiona who has a background in Accountancy previously led the Education Department of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), and the College is looking forward to learning from her expertise, particularly in the development of e-learning.

Closer to home there have been a number of highlights.

On the eve of International Women’s Day 2019, it was very appropriate that the first Leadership Lecture of my presidency was given by Dame Clare Marx, recently appointed Chair of the GMC and Past President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the first woman ever to hold this office. Entitled “Clinical Leaders-your patients need you!”, her lecture was inspiring, uplifting and was a real call to action. You can read more on Dame Clare’s lecture on pages 24 to 29. This College is committed to helping our members to develop their leadership potential, and will be running a number of courses in partnership with the Faculty of Medical and Leadership Management. In collaboration with the University of Glasgow, our College will also be offering four annual development scholarships to encourage diversity within leadership roles. In year one this will be open to women and in subsequent years other groups which are currently under represented.

I have managed so far to avoid the Brexit word, but would like to report on an event hosted by Queens University, Belfast, at which the Colleges of Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Ireland explored the impact of Brexit on NHS, and in particular on healthcare in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It was good to see the Colleges working together, and ultimately a joint letter has been published which you can access here rcp.sg/irelandandbrexit. Further collaboration and cooperation is planned.

In terms of the priorities I have outlined, namely Workforce, Wellbeing and Inclusivity, I am very grateful to Council and Executive Board members for supporting these domains and the task and finish groups to progress them are currently being constituted. A fourth priority has been added, that of recruitment, engagement and retention of UK Members and Fellows. While it is wonderful to develop an international profile, it is absolutely crucial that we are connected to our membership in the UK and this will be concentrating our minds for the foreseeable future.

How do we attract and retain UK doctors in what can be a challenging environment? There is no magic bullet, but we must prove that the College is dynamic, listening, responsive, relevant, caring, influential and willing to defend the profession.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone for their good wishes and in particular to express my gratitude to the Office Bearers and College staff for their advice and support over the last few months and for assisting me to keep those plates spinning. It’s important now that we harness the skills within the College to focus on our priority areas and keep the momentum going! I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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