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Governance initiative
The governance of the College is, of
course, under constant review and the
governance Committee initially proposed
the establishment of a College Board
in 2012. Surveys of Council had shown
that the majority of members go forward
for election because of their desire to
contribute specifically to surgical education,
training and practice. In response to these
findings, the governance Committee
sought to set up a College Board to deal
with matters outside the specific surgical
training and educational remit including
the management of RCSI's property
portfolio, international Colleges and wider
business activities in parallel with, rather
than as part of, core Council activities.
The new 13-member College Board, which
reports to Council, comprises seven Council
members including the President, who
will also act as Chair; the vice President;
the Chair of the Finance Committee; and
four additional Council members elected
by their peers within the Council. The
Board also includes the CEO and Registrar
of RCSI and the Dean of the Faculty of
Medicine and Health Sciences. RCSI
has, in addition, appointed four external
members to its new Board, who will bring
specific expertise and competencies in,
for example, education, entrepreneurship,
law and finance, as well as helping to
provide oversight and support to the senior
management team.
We are very grateful to the four
distinguished individuals who have agreed
to serve as external members: Mr Justice
Peter Kelly and Mr Willie Cotter, both
lay members of Council, and two of our
own very distinguished alumni, Lord Ara
Darzi, Chair of Surgery at Imperial College
London and Dr Michael Brennan, Professor
of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in the USA.
The Board, which will convene on a
quarterly basis, held its inaugural meeting
on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. We look
forward with interest to the Board's
contribution to the College's governance
journey and the additional strategic
supports it can provide for the CEO and
Senior Management Team.
Surgical Training Pathway
When I was elected President in 2012,
I prioritised, as a key objective, the
transformation of the Surgical Training
Pathway in Ireland. The Department of
Surgical Affairs had been exploring how to
improve the Basic Surgical Training (BST)
years; feedback from surgical trainees
and, indeed, trainers had indicated a high
degree of dissatisfaction with the duration
and quality of basic surgical training. In
particular, it was felt that a three-year
programme was inefficient and wasteful.
Also, there was increasing concern
about the duration of gap years and the
requirement of mandatory research for all
Therefore, it was decided to opt for
radical change reducing BST to two
years, eliminating gap years and making
Higher Surgical Training more structured.
Thus, we have the new surgical training
programme with which most people are
now familiar, consisting of one year of basic
training (ST1) followed by one year of basic
specialty training (ST 2), with subsequent
progression to the ST3 to ST6 years based
on candidates achieving the necessary
competencies as well as passing the MRCS
and assessment by interview in the relevant
Progress to date has been extremely
encouraging. In 2013, the application
process revealed a considerable increase
in interest among new graduates in
surgical careers. Of 58 trainees who
commenced the programme in July 2013,
it is pleasing to confirm that 90 per cent
have been accommodated with their first
choice of specialty for the second year
of their training programme. This is a
particularly positive outcome as there was
some concern about the possibility of a
disproportionately high level of demand for
specialties such as trauma & orthopaedics
and general surgery.
These ST1 and ST2 posts are all based
in 10 hospitals and it became clear
that hospital programme coordinators
(consultants) would be required to ensure
optimal delivery of training on each site.
building on its distinguished surgical
heritage, the royal college of surgeons
in ireland, since its foundation in 1784,
has remained dedicated to its core
mission of educating and training
doctors and healthcare professionals
to the highest standard. the past 12
months have seen a number of significant
developments and initiatives intended to
strategically position rcsi for the next
phase in the ongoing development of its
historic mission.
today, that mission extends across
the globe, exemplified by rcsi's
undergraduate and postgraduate surgical
campuses in dublin, bahrain, perdana and
penang, which continue to produce high
quality medical graduates and surgeons,
armed with the knowledge and skills
required to deliver the highest quality of
healthcare to patients worldwide.
Professor Patrick J. Broe
President, RCSI