President's News, November 2019

President's News Header Image

By the time this newsletter reaches you, you may have seen the changes made to the College’s website. After months of hard work by teams across the College, input from fellows and members, the Lay Committee, external stakeholders and the general public, I’m pleased to announce that we now not only have a brand-new website for the College, but also for the Faculty of Pain Medicine and the Centre for Perioperative Care (CPOC).

In line with the aims of the College’s Technology Strategy Programme, the main focus of these new websites has been to take the first step to improving the services offered to fellows and members and external stakeholders.

Through a more streamlined content strategy and a vastly improved layout, you will find it easier and quicker to search for, find and digest information, especially when you’re accessing it on your mobile phone or tablet. The booking system for College events and courses for example is smoother, more intuitive and quicker to use. Accessibility to our website content for all our stakeholders is key and therefore reading support through the industry standard Browsealoud system has been provided. All College publications are now displayed on a dedicated publications page with the option to directly submit articles for publication.

The websites will be under constant development to ensure they remain up-to-date with technological standards, with further expansions already scheduled. Integrating the up-coming new Customer Relationship Management system will lead to the College providing an interactive website experience through a more personalised member portal. The portal is planned to enable you to choose areas of clinical interest for which you would like to be kept notified of, and chose your preferences i.e. which College communications you’d prefer to receive, or not. Single sign-on across all College academic publications and event bookings will also, over time, streamline navigation to and from those areas.

As the College’s new website enables us to host and release more digital content ranging from podcasts and videos to case studies, our membership communication outputs via social media and our e-newsletters will also undergo improvements over time. Please ensure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest College news. I can also be found on twitter here.

I encourage you all to take some time to explore each of the three new websites. We would love to hear your feedback – please use this form on the website to provide your feedback. Thank you to those members who have already done so.

Election to Council 2020 – ballot open

The College Council election ballot is open for three consultant vacancies until 2 December 2019 at 12 noon.

This ballot is being conducted electronically and all those eligible to vote should now have received an email with instructions about how to do so. To ensure the process is independent and fair, the College is again working with leading ballot services provider Electoral Reform Services (ERS) to conduct the election, so messages about this election will come from:

The College encourages all eligible to vote to do so.

Candidates for the consultant vacancies (three to elect to serve a term of six years) are:

  • Dr Sridhar (Sri) Gummaraju
  • Dr Ros Bacon
  • Professor Jonathan Thompson
  • Dr Abrie Theron

Further details and FAQs can be found here.

Our Manifesto for the 2019 General Election and how you can help

On 12 December voters across the country will head to the polls to determine the make-up of the next Government. The outcome may be uncertain, but we’re committed to ensuring that policy-makers take action to put patients first and to care for our hard working NHS staff. That’s why we’ve just published our manifesto for a 21st Century Health Service, setting out our priorities for the next Government.

We’re doing all we can nationally to advocate on your behalf. However, we cannot do it alone. We need your help to deliver our message to your local candidates and get them to commit to our ‘asks.’ As a College member, you’re well-placed to do this because Parliamentary candidates are much more likely to listen to the concerns of their constituents – especially when they are presented with your local stories – than they are to national organisations with fewer concrete links to their community.

Over the next week or so, candidates will be in a mad dash to meet as many constituents as they can. What they hear on your doorstep or at a hustings may follow them into the House of Commons. To help you get started, we’ve produced a brief guide outlining how you can campaign on behalf of the College. It includes sample questions, opportunities, and tips for building relationships with your candidates. Please also help to promote our manifesto by sharing it on social media.

If you do speak to any of your candidates, we’d love to hear how it went. Please let the RCoA’s Policy and Public Affairs Team know at

Views from the frontline of anaesthesia – supporting the development of the People Plan

We welcomed the themes and ambitions set out in the Interim NHS People Plan in spring 2019 and we look forward to the detailed proposals to ensure the NHS is the most supportive and progressive healthcare provider to work for.

Views from the frontline of anaesthesia presents our members’ views on what they feel should be the priorities for the College as we work towards developing a 2020 anaesthesia workforce strategy. Between August and September 2019, we surveyed the views of a number of stakeholders, including frontline anaesthetists, Clinical Directors, Training Programme Directors and Heads of Schools. This paper captures their perspectives. We are pleased to now offer this further document in support of the People Plan.

The College’s workforce strategy will closely align with the People Plan’s five themes; making the NHS the best place to work, improving the leadership culture, tackling workforce shortages, delivering 21st century care and a future workforce. We look forward to collaborating with NHS Improvement, Health Education England and wider partners in delivering the plan’s aims.

Our survey showed morale and retention to be critical issues for our members. The College has long supported a more flexible and supportive NHS working environment, especially amongst older doctors. This is one part of the solution to alleviating workforce pressures.

Workforce shortages are also a common theme among our members. I am pleased that results from our next anaesthetic workforce census are due to be published in May 2020, and am keen to continue to work with our partners to make sure robust and accurate data can be used to protect the NHS for the future.

However, we also need to consider more creative solutions to deliver truly multidisciplinary patient care, including maximising the potential of the SAS workforce and the development of Medical Associate Professions, including Anaesthesia Associates.

Ultimately, our members have told us that if we are to deliver a truly 21st century healthcare system, then the NHS needs to evolve and become a more co-ordinated, proactive and personalised system of care. Providing effective leadership, increasing perioperative care and integrating care systems so that the NHS can deliver the best patient care for years to come.

Scottish Medical Workforce – an outline of challenges and offer of solutions

The Scottish Board would like to draw your attention to the Scottish Medical Workforce report recently released by the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The Academy is acutely aware of the issues facing the medical workforce in Scotland and the potential impact of these workforce challenges on delivery of good care. While we recognise the value of multidisciplinary working and of emerging roles, to maintain a safe and high quality service it is essential that we have adequate numbers of doctors with appropriate training, skills and experience.

Although co-authored by Professor Jackie Taylor, President of the Royal College and Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Professor Peter W Johnston, Chair of the Scotland Regional Council of the Royal College of Pathologists and Jack Fairweather, Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow with the RCPSG, it draws on feedback from the whole Academy.

The report sets out the factors that are combining to create a situation where the imbalance of workforce and workload is unsustainable. It focuses on mismatch at interfaces, for example, between University and Foundation, Foundation and Core Training (CT)/ST1 and between trainee and career grades and considers other key factors such as working conditions and wellbeing, safe staffing, flexibility and retention.

The findings are distilled into 20 recommendations, the first of which is a single planning and oversight group, which will help us understand better the Scottish medical workforce and to plan improved systems and processes for the future.

It is intended as a working document to which additions and retractions can be made as the workforce climate changes in a politically unpredictable time.

Enhanced Care Consultation

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) and Royal College of Physicians’ Enhanced Care Working Parties are pleased to release, Enhanced Care: guidance on service development in acute care for open consultation.

This document has been produced in response to feedback from fellows and members regarding the need for the development of enhanced care services and guidance on their delivery. The College is one of the stakeholders in this project.

We would now like to seek wider views on the final draft of the document. To review a copy of the guidance and to send us your comments, please see the FICM website.

The deadline for responses is 5pm on Friday 13 December 2019.

ICM Curriculum Consultation – feedback welcome

As a result of the introduction of the General Medical Council’s (GMC) new standards for postgraduate medical specialty curricula, the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine is hoping to introduce its new Intensive Care Medicine curriculum in the summer of 2020 and launch in August 2021.

The curriculum has been re-written to take account of the GMC’s new standards. FICM would like to invite you to feedback as an interested stakeholder to tell them if you have any concerns as to the content of the curriculum, its feasibility in terms of delivery and to help them understand how these changes may impact different social groups.

To review the current proposals for the new curriculum and submit your feedback via the online questionnaire, please see the FICM website.

Deadline for responses is 5pm on Friday 20 December 2019.

Nominations for Scottish and Northern Irish Boards

Nominations are now open for vacancies to the RCoA Boards in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

There are two consultant vacancies and one SAS vacancy for the Scottish Board.

The Northern Irish Board seeks to fill three consultant vacancies.

(There is no election for the Welsh Board this year).

Our Boards provide an important link between the College and our Fellows and Members in the devolved nations. Full details and how to self-nominate can be found here for Scotland and for Northern Ireland.

Nominations close on 4 December 2019.

BMJ Awards open for entries

Entries are open for the College sponsored Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine Team of the Year Award

The College is pleased to be sponsoring the Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine Team of the Year category at the 2020 BMJ Awards. Entries are now open.

Started in 2008, the BMJ Awards are the UK’s leading medical awards programme, recognising and celebrating inspirational work undertaken by clinicians and the teams they work with. The Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine Team of the Year award will recognise an innovative project in the field of anaesthesia which has measurably improved care for patients.

The BMJ Awards provide perioperative teams with the platform to showcase their innovative patient-focused research and quality improvement activities. I therefore strongly encourage as many perioperative teams as possible to take part and submit their entries for the Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine Team of the Year category. I look forward to this being an incredibly competitive category.

Entries are invited until Friday 17 January 2020. More information can be found on the BMJ Awards website.

HSJ Value Awards 2020 – entry deadline 11 December

The deadline for submitting entries to the HSJ Value Awards is fast approaching. The awards celebrate the teams and the people who are making things better in the NHS. If your project or initiative has made a difference to patient outcomes or the way things are run, then enter by 11 December to tell your story. The awards will give you a chance to share your achievements and get national recognition of your work. 

We especially encourage entries for the Clinical Support Services Award which focuses on care pathways including improving patients’ response to treatment and their recovery and rehabilitation.

More information on how to enter can be found on the HSJ Value Awards 2020 website.

CPD Lifelong Learning Platform

We are delighted to announce that CPD functionality has now been launched into the Lifelong Learning Platform. By combining CPD with the anaesthetists in training e-Portfolio and clinical logbook there is now a seamless offering, supporting members throughout their careers and helping meet their needs for revalidation.

Building on the success of the former CPD Online Diary, some of the enhancements include that CPD Learners can link activities and events to the Good Medical Practice Domains and the Domains for Medical Educators. A PDF report of the CPD Learner’s completed CPD activities plus reflection will continue to be available to evidence this supporting information requirement and the CPD Learner can customise the date range for this report and what appears in it. CPD Learners can also add ‘real time’ reflection whilst attending a CPD-accredited event instead of needing to wait until the event’s conclusion to do this. Since this functionality was launched, over 700 personal CPD activities have already been added and reflected upon.

For further information on how to get started, please visit the Lifelong Learning Platform.

National Mental Capacity Forum

In 2015, the National Mental Capacity Forum was set up to improve awareness of the Mental Capacity Act and thereby to improve its implementation. College members have given freely of their time and expertise because they have felt deep concern for those with impaired mental capacity for decision making at any level.

As Chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum, I am keen to know how awareness of the Mental Capacity Act has changed in the past four years and therefore would be most grateful for feedback. Your help in completing this survey will guide us in future work streams, particularly with the Office of the Public Guardian over Lasting Powers of Attorney and with educational bodies over supported decision-making.

Please complete this short survey. Your anonymous replies will influence the future direction of the Forum. Thank you for your help with this important contribution.

Research and Quality Improvement

POMCTN recruiting future Chief Investigators

The UK Perioperative Medicine Clinical Trials Network (POMCTN) is running a fresh round of recruitment to its Chief Investigator Scheme. The Scheme is intended to provide training and mentorship for a small number of talented individuals who wish to lead their own perioperative clinical trials.

Applicants can be from any clinical background relevant to perioperative medicine, with a proven track record of recruitment to trials, ideally with experience of a complete research cycle as a grant co-applicant.

Deadline for applications is Monday 27 January 2020. Visit the POMCTN website for more information.

SNAP3 Commissioning Brief released

The College and Health Services Research Centre (HSRC) have released the commissioning brief for a third Sprint National Anaesthesia Project (SNAP3) based on frailty and delirium. Our thanks to all who proposed topics for SNAP3.

The successful candidate will be selected based on their credibility to lead SNAP3, clarity of their ideas for the research questions and methods, ability to work in a high-pressure environment (coordinating over 250 hospitals can be stressful!) and their ability to work with, and supervise the trainee lead who will be appointed subsequently.

The post is supported by 1PA salary backfill. Deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 7 February 2020.

Visit the HSRC website for more information.

Last few places for Anaesthesia Research 2019

There is still time for you to book your place at Anaesthesia Research 2019, a brand new two-day event, taking place at The Principal Hotel in York on 2–3 December 2019 and covering the full research spectrum ‘from bench to bedside’.

The single day rate is £87.50, or £175 for both days, with reduced trainees and AHP rates. Quality Audit & Research Coordinators (QuARCs) can attend one full day for free. 10 CPD credits.

Events update

Anaesthetic updates launch

Every year the College runs four Updates in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Management events and six CPD Study days. The main noticeable difference between these events is the length, but essentially they are both run to provide an opportunity to connect with specialty experts and peers, and bring back new ideas that will improve your own practice.

Due to their similar structure and function, we have decided to re-brand these popular events and combine them into a series called Anaesthetic updates. This series will launch in January 2020 and vary in length from a one to three-day programme.

We are pleased to share our new logo for these events.

Book your place now at one of our Anaesthetic Updates.

  • 31 January 2020, Nottingham
  • 25–27 February 2020, London
  • 17–18 March 2020, London
Anaesthesia 2020, Manchester, 18-20 May 2020 – topic preview

We have been continuing to confirm a fantastic line up of topics for Anaesthesia 2020

We are pleased to share a sneak preview:

  • anaesthesia new frontiers
  • aluminium toxicity
  • tracheostomy quality improvement
  • perioperative medicine.

Don’t forget to use code ‘Early10’ to receive 10% discount when registering, book your place today.

Patient safety in perioperative practice, 13 February 2020, RCoA, London

We hope you will join us at our one-day meeting to discuss patient safety, including the barriers to delivering safe perioperative care, and strategies on how to overcome them. Its aims are to build upon existing knowledge and clinical practice to make systems, processes and organisations safer.

Topics include:

  • checklists and Lifebox
  • engineered solutions to never events and novel simulation methods
  • technology to improve safety: a human factors approach
  • what to do when you are involved in a patient safety incident
  • the future of patient safety.
Upcoming Leadership and management courses:

Join one of our L&M Courses in 2020 which includes a balance of plenary sessions, group work and exercises with emphasis on real life issues, open discussions, up-to-date information and will provide time for one-to-one discussions.

  • L&M: the essentials, 3-4 March 2020 at RCoA, London
  • L&M: Personal effectiveness, 19 March 2020 at RCoA, London
Feedback from previous courses

“Very much enjoyed the course. Both presenters were excellent and made me feel that management may be an opportunity I would like to consider.”

“Excellent course which made the topics come to life. I was sceptical about what looked like a one day course spread over two days, however the time allowed for reflection was right considering the intensity.”

“A challenging thought provoking course that I would recommend to colleagues.”

Global Anaesthesia

The College will be running our next Global Anaesthesia themed event in partnership with the World Anaesthesia Society on Tuesday 24 March 2020.

Global Anaesthesia: Towards Health Equity will cover a number of key topics affecting the delivery of equitable anaesthesia healthcare across the world, and will include sessions on climate change, inequality in healthcare access and its effects on migrant population health and corruption and its impact on health equity.

Confirmed speakers include Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, Professor Farai Madzimbamuto, Dr Vatshalan Santhriapala and Professor Sir Any Haines.

Find more information and book your place here.

If you have any comments on the issues highlighted in this e-newsletter or would like to express your views on any other matter, I would like to hear from you. Please contact me via

Professor Ravi Mahajan