College awards fellowship to Aung San Suu Kyi

ASSKPro-democracy leader receives highest RCSEd honour for her contribution to healthcare

The RCSEd’s long and illustrious Fellows’ roll now holds the signature of one of the world’s leading proponents of democratic freedom. On 16 January, Myanmar’s opposition leader and Nobel Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met the College’s President and his delegation to be gowned and sworn in as an Honorary Fellow.

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The moral maze

The moral maze

In his Fellowship lecture, Lord Winston looked at the history of medical ethics and the issues surrounding reproductive medicine, from IVF to eugenics

The frontispiece to Nicolaas Hartsoeker’s book, Essai de Dioptrique, published in Geneva in 1694, depicts a human sperm with a homunculus in the head. This was based on what Hartsoeker thought he had seen when he looked at his own seminal fluid under a microscope, giving himself such a fright that he did not look down a microscope for the next two years.

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Moving targets

Moving targets

From gardening to housework, some regular activity can make all the difference to surgical outcomes. Jon Dearing looks at the evidence

In 2007 the World Health Organization declared that lack of physical activity is the fourth largest cause of preventable death in the world. It is important to make a distinction between physical activity – bodily movement caused by skeletal muscles that uses energy – and exercise. Physical activity involves day-to-day activities such as walking, housework and gardening performed such that the subject becomes a little short of breath. No special equipment is required and there is no competitive element.

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Blood brother

Blood brother

Chronicling the work of Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune who travelled to Spain in the 1930s to help in the fight against fascism

Norman Bethune FRCSEd (1890–1939) was the Canadian surgeon whose political and humanitarian convictions led him to join the Spanish Civil War, on the side of the Republican (Loyalist) forces in 1936. In Bethune in Spain, authors Roderick Stewart and Jesús Majada describe how Bethune became deeply involved in the anti-fascist effort and chronicled events through his writings and talks. The following excerpts, taken from Bethune’s own letters and reports, cover his creation and operation of a blood transfusion service, the commitment of the International Brigades and the rescue of fleeing Loyalist civilians during the Málaga–Almeria road tragedy.

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Mapping cancer care in the USA

Mapping cancer care in the USA

Professor Timothy J Eberlein is an expert in the delivery of cancer care and has held surgical chairs at Harvard and now at Washington University. Here he speaks to Professor Robert Steele about the state of oncology services in a country as large and diverse as the USA


What are the main challenges in providing uniformly high-quality cancer care across the US?
The main challenges are twofold. Physicians in the United States tend to be independent practitioners. Adapting multidisciplinary care that is patient focused, and making recommendations with the patient’s best interest in mind, would improve quality. The second issue in the United States is access to cancer care. Patients without insurance or poor-quality insurance tend not to avail themselves of routine preventative care. They do not undergo screenings and, therefore, are more likely to present with more advanced cancer. Alleviation of these two issues would dramatically improve the quality of cancer care in the United States.

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Time to innovate

Time to innovate

The new surgical training standards from the College’s FST are vital to seven-day service innovation, writes Professor Sir Bruce Keogh

Initially conceived in 1940s America to respect Christian and Jewish practices, the weekend has been universally adopted in Western countries as protected personal time.

In the UK, challenges from high-street retailers resulted in a change to the Sunday trading law in 1994. Since then, social behaviour has changed profoundly. Public expectations of service provision for customer convenience have resulted in routine services being available seven days a week in many industries – but not healthcare.

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Fighting the odds

Fighting the odds

College Fellow Mr Tim Hargreave tells Mark Baillie  about his close involvement with the world’s largest surgical public health drive – to reduce the spread of HIV in Africa by circumcising 20 million men

“This is all about numbers; I’m sort of metamorphosing from a surgeon into a public-health doctor, and the point is that if you’re doing something for public health, it has to be cost-effective. So you don’t want to have to treat thousands of people to prevent one case.” Tim Hargreave launches into our interview with a level of enthusiasm that must be a valuable trait in one of the most ambitious projects for tackling the HIV pandemic.

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