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The Faculty of Perioperative Care

Annual Conference 2018

Working within One’s Scope of Practice

3 November 2018, Birmingham 

View photos from the event on the FPC's Facebook page

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) President Mike Lavelle-Jones gave a warm welcome to a packed house of delegates to the Faculty of Perioperative Care’s (FPC) fourth annual conference. The conference, his last formal event as President, would build on the work “we’ve done over the last three years.

“There are over 100 delegates in the room, it’s a sell-out performance and the biggest in relation to the Faculty. It shows the growing momentum,” he said, pledging to the delegates: “Your roles are absolutely embedded in that future surgical team.”

Delegates came to the Birmingham-based event from all over the UK and questioned the speakers, discussed the presentations in the breaks, networked and talked about how regulation could underpin patient safety and practice.

According to many of the practitioners who attended the event, they were there because the FPC has given them both a voice and support to enhance their careers.

First speaker, Julie Quick, senior lecturer at Birmingham City University, acknowledged that there is ongoing demand for training “from the numbers in front of me” for training and skills and CPD (continuing professional development) to enhance develop SFA (surgical first assistant) skills. Susan Hall, senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University and first Fellow of the FPC, agreed and called for opportunities to develop role relevant CPD.

Alistair Geraghty, RCSEd Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow 2017-2018, gave delegates an insight into a new survey on the impact of the non-medical workforce on surgical teams: “The more senior you are in a team the more consistent the team members are – so junior members of the team change more frequently.” Continuity in the team was important, he stressed.

Looking into the way new patterns of working have been harnessed successfully in cardiac surgery, Tara Bartley, Advanced Clinical Lead in Cardiac Surgery for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, and co-presenter consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Mike Lewis, commented that culture and politics in today's NHS has blurred the traditional boundaries in surgical teams “it's about skill sets not professional titles”.

Bill Robertson-Smith, a surgical care practitioner (SCP) from Northampton General Hospital, gave an insight into what trainees think of SCPs. Her survey came up with quite startling responses from how they add to knowledge, augment individuals’ training to not having any qualifications and only reproduce surgery.

Following this view of SCPs, FPC Lead Charlie Auld called for a surgical career pathway for the group. He explained how RCSEd had developed a key skills course specifically SCPs and SFAs that included suturing and taking consent.

An important question that RCSEd Treasurer and Professor of Trauma and Orthopaedics Richard Montgomery addressed, asking: “Is your trust doing patient consent properly?” Not one hand went up, making it clear that more needs to be done.

“There's a growing communality in what good practice in the workplace looks like today,” Jo Wren, the General Medical council’s Regional Liaison Advisor, explained saying that the GMC now had much more evidence of what good behaviour looks like.

However, a straw poll of how many delegates had experienced bullying held by RCSEd campaign #LetsRemoveIt chair Alice Hartley revealed: “It’s scary that everyone in the room has experienced bullying.”

Winding up the conference RCSEd Vice-President Pala Rajesh said the increase in the numbers attending the FPC conference “is a reflection of the evolving surgical team”.