A vital piece of work is ongoing to improve recruitment and retention in urology. Competition ratios into higher urological training currently stands at about 2.8:1, having been 9:1 a decade ago. In General Surgery, this is less than 1:1, but is as high as 6:1 in Neurosurgery. This might start at the very beginning in Medical Schoo,l and BURST have been asked by our Undergraduate Educational lead, Toby Page (Newcastle), to find out how much exposure to and teaching in Urology is given in all of our Medical Schools. He is also refreshing the role of Medical School Champions and has already sent out a message to that effect.
In Europe, it seems that the countries which have the most undergraduate time given to urology, have the least problems in recruiting to our specialty. I am also going to write, on behalf of the Federation of Surgical Speciality Associations (FSSA), to each Medical School Dean and ask how much surgical teaching and, indeed, surgical specialty exposure they feel their students receive. The triangulation of these responses should be interesting. There are several Medical School surgical, and even urological societies, so we are exploring closer links with these as well as the more difficult task of trying to reach the students who might not have considered a surgical career at all.
Dominic Hodgson (Portsmouth) has been leading the Education Committee since the start of 2019, and we have appointed Anna O’Riordan (Newcastle) as the FY/CT lead, Sunjay Jain (Leeds) as the Consultants and AUS lead, and more recently (last week) Hari Ratan (Nottingham) to take over from Owen Hughes (Cardiff) who has been a very committed and successful Higher Trainee lead for 4 years – we are very grateful to him. It was very pleasing to have such a strong field of candidates apply for these roles.
A very successful Consultant’s Boot Camp was held in Leeds in November and this will be further developed according to need.
I am also particularly concerned at how the NHS structures job plans for consultants in the latter stages of their careers. We will be taking a look at the variance in how colleagues are managed, in terms of their roles such as mentorship, on-call commitments, teaching etc and how they can be encouraged not to retire as early as the current pattern would seem to suggest.
Congratulations to Caroline Moore (UCLH) who has been appointed as the Urology Surgical Speciality Lead to the RCS England Research Board in September 2019 and to Abhay Rane (Redhill) on his election to Vice President of the RCPS Glasgow (November 2019) – it is always good to have urological friends in influential places.