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New initiative from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh raises hopes of plugging some surgical staff shortages in NHS trusts in the Highlands and across Scotland

By Philip Murray

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Pictured at the launch are (from left) Stuart Clark (IPD Dean), Mike Griffin (RCSEd President) and Pala Rajesh (RCSEd Vice-President).
Pictured at the launch are (from left) Stuart Clark (IPD Dean), Mike Griffin (RCSEd President) and Pala Rajesh (RCSEd Vice-President).

A MAJOR new initiative has sparked hopes that some surgical staff shortages in parts of the Highlands might be plugged.

A programme has been launched by the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh (RCSEd) which aims to place international surgical trainees into posts throughout the country's NHS trusts and boards.

Its new International Postgraduate Deanery (IPD) aims to give international graduates the opportunity to spend up to two years contributing towards patient care in the NHS – boosting training and development within the health service at a time when many trusts face a challenging shortage of surgical staff while coping with the demands of a growing and ageing population.

The scheme builds on previous efforts which helped to match up more than 1000 international medical graduates (IMGs). Over the past three years the RCSEd has placed 34 IMGs within roles in Scotland alone – and it is hoped that the deanery will boost this number further, providing vital training and much-needed personnel while boosting patient safety.

As the largest of the UK’s four surgical colleges and a 26,000 strong membership across 100 countries worldwide, the RCSEd said it will use its global span and local expertise to ensure the "ideal candidates are paired with the most suitable roles", based throughout the country.

“The deanery will offer trusts the opportunity to provide high quality training to overseas doctors whilst utilising their skills and expertise within the NHS," said Stuart Clark, the International Postgraduate Dean, a member of the RCSEd Council, and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

"RCSEd has over 25 years' experience of delivering similar programmes and we are keen to use this expertise to continue to deliver a world class service.”

The RCSEd provides training, examinations and development to medical professionals and has bases in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Kuala Lumpur to serve growing UK and international memberships.

The organisation said it was "conscious of the considerable value that the exchange of global surgical knowledge brings to the NHS, and intend to use the IPD to advance this", adding that trainees will be "fully inducted" to NHS and UK practices.

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