The President's Message
Helping to meet the healthcare challenges of 2013
The beginning of the year is an opportunity to look ahead to the coming year. The AUGIS Council is currently developing a number of initiatives, which are intended to consolidate AUGIS’ position as the reference Association for upper GI surgery.
The Royal College of Surgeons (England) has established a Fellowship programme to provide support for senior trainees and recently appointed consultants to gain additional specialist skills not readily available within existing training programmes. Experience within surgical training based on the ISCP curricula has shown that trainees can gain the breadth of experience in their chosen area of special interest but cannot achieve competence in the more specialist areas. AUGIS Council feels that this is a good opportunity to develop specialist training not only by quality-assuring the posts but also by ensuring that such opportunities link to career development in the context of manpower needs.
The process for the scheme is based on application to the RCS Quality Assurance department which forwards the details to the respective Specialty Associations and SAC. The Specialty Association assesses the application to ensure it meets criteria, which reflect training and educational opportunities expected of a high quality fellowship. Once approved, the posts are advertised with both RCS and Specialty Association endorsement.
Our work from last year on manpower showed a limited number of consultant posts in major OG and HPB surgery annually. It would seem appropriate to link the number of Fellowships to the expected number of consultant appointments. Giles Toogood (Chair, Education, Training and Research Committee) and I will shortly be writing to all specialist OG and HPB centres with more detailed explanation and would encourage application to the RCS.
From April, the NHS will be functioning with yet another reorganisation, based on the White Paper proposals for Commissioning. This will have a significant effect on our Specialty. Centralised Specialist Commissioning is in the process of being established and will cover HPB surgery, management of morbid obesity and OG cancer services. Service specifications have been drafted and are shortly to go out for consultation. This, however, only covers part of our clinical workload. At local level, commissioning for more common problems will be locally determined. This will need to be against a set of standards.
Council has decided to work with the RCS (England) to develop standards for services in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and the management of gall stones. This is deliberately designed to cover these common conditions in their broadest sense rather than simply concentrating on surgery. Ian Beckingham is leading on this with Council colleagues who work in district hospital practice.
AUGIS Council members are looking forward to the challenges of 2013. We are in the process of developing the programme for the scientific meeting, which Richard Charnley is hosting in Gateshead – the facilities at The Sage venue are magnificent.
As ever, we are very keen to receive your feedback on the Association’s activities.