Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

About Surgeons in Practice

One of the key roles of the RCSI is representing and supporting the community of surgeons in Ireland.

Towards Improved Collaboration and Coordination of Surgical Research in Ireland - Report of RCSI Short Life Working Group 2018

Code of Practice for Surgeons 2018

Modern surgery is a technically demanding speciality delivered in a complex environment to a patient cohort that have high expectations. Surgeons must ensure that the patient care they provide is of a high standard, that they keep abreast of new developments and that they provide adequate supervision and training to junior colleagues.

The Dean of Professional Development & Practice, Professor Sean Tierney, was appointed in 2011 to work with the management team to help develop our focus on surgeons in practice.

Every Surgeon recognises that, while core skills will always be required, the pace of change in how and where we practice is relentless. All of us need to look regularly at our practice, identify areas where we need to be updated or reassured, and go and find the education we need to fill the gap. Being a Member or Fellow of RCSI should help make that journey a little easier.

Initiatives in the area of Surgeons in Practice include:

HSE/RCSI Clinical programmes: The Models of Care for Acute and Elective Surgery lead by Mr Ken Mealy and Professor Frank Keane has been supported by RCSI. These models have set out structures and processes that could assure the delivery of high quality surgical care across public hospitals in Ireland.

National Office for Clinical Audit: As part of the Clinical Programmes in Surgery, the HSE have supported the development of a National Office of Clinical Audit. This will provide a mechanism for ensuring the quality of care provided to patient while also making it easy for surgeons to meet the audit requirements of Medical Council

Professional Competence Scheme: RCSI is responsible for operating this scheme for Surgeons and Doctors working in Emergency Medicine. Based on consultation with clinicians in practice, an e-portfolio has been developed which makes it easy for you to find events, to record attendance at those events, and to see at a glance what else is required during a PCS cycle.

Based on the experience of surgeons in practice, the portfolio has been optimised to facilitate data entry on a smart phone or tablet avoiding the need to keep temporary records. In addition to storing certificates of attendance, it is possible to use the portfolio to store all the records relating to conferences including travel details, receipts, presentations and other documents.

Approval of CPD events: Event organisers can apply to RCSI for approval of events for CPD purposes. We have developed guidelines for applicants and a streamlined online process (this doc at this link is old) to make this as efficient as possible. Approved events can be viewed on our online calendar.

Professional Development Programmes: Doctors on the General Register working in HSE posts in Surgery or Emergency medicine may enrol in the Professional Development Programme. This provides Technical Skills and Human Factors training and helps those Doctors meet the CPD requirements of the Irish Medical Council.

Public engagement: RCSI proposes one member of RCSI Council to the Medical Council nominated by the Minister). This role is currently held by Professor Freddie Wood who has been elected President of the current Medical Council. In addition, the College regularly responds to calls for consultation from the Medical Council, HIQA, the HSE and other bodies who are developing policies that impact on surgical practice. In addition, the Professional Development & Practice Unit meet with patient representative groups and lobby organisations to inform guideline and policy development.

Surgeons in difficulty: On occasions, surgeons may require specific support to upskill, reskill or retrain following a period away from surgical practice. The Professional Development & Practice unit can arrange to asses these reskilling needs, support the development and implementation of a professional action plan, and arrange clinical placements where these are required. This is usually undertaken in partnership with the employer and/or the Medical Council.

The range and scope of these activities continues to grow. Our activities in this area have been informed by formal and informal consultation with Fellows and Members. New thoughts are always welcome and can be communicated by email to or in person during one of the many professional development activities in the college every year.