With our first woman President for 64 years, 2016 was a landmark year for the RCOG and I am proud of the significant developments there have been across the College in the past year.
The Lindsay Stewart Centre has continued to grow and its clinical audit and outcomes work has proved that the faith we had when we set it up was justified. The Centre is attracting a high level of interest for its expertise in clinical data, winning new grants and contracts to increase our knowledge and understanding of clinical services. I have every confidence this will continue to expand.
The National Guideline Alliance (NGA) has been successfully integrated into the College and it is hard to believe it was only launched in April 2016. It has already expanded its remit, and is now also working on social care guidelines, which is a great tribute to the staff. NGA staff are also getting involved in working across the College and contributing to projects. It’s great to have them.
Another important achievement in 2016 was the reshaping of our global health activities, and I’m optimistic that we now have the right partnerships in place and the right internal structures to provide a real focus for our work. Our Leading Safe Choices programme in South Africa and Tanzania is having a genuine impact on the health and wellbeing of women and their families. It’s vital that we continue to take the best of what we do in the UK, in clinical quality, education and training, and apply this to global settings, particularly to make good health care available to women in countries with lower resources.
With the President’s leadership, our work on abortion care, both in the UK and abroad, and our work to strengthen mental health services for women is gaining profile and we are grateful to all the women who came forward to share their experiences.
There has been a greater focus on health policy and external affairs over the last year. We need to play a greater part in influencing policy, ensuring the College’s position is clear to policy advisers, ministers and the opposition frontbench, backbench MPs and the House of Lords. We should build alliances to make sure issues are raised and debated, and to do this we need highly developed external affairs skills and expert staff. Working in partnership with the significant resource of the College’s Women’s Network and Women’s Voices, is particularly important to achieve these aims.
I would also like to thank our educators, examiners and staff colleagues for their skilful and successful introduction of the new Part 3 MRCOG examination. This has been a large amount of work but has led to an improvement in the structure of the exam for all future candidates. Together with the excellent initiatives in the membership department, we are now able to offer specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology, wherever they are practising, a new range of member services to suit their needs.
Over the coming year we will be working hard on a suitable location for our new offices in London. We know that change can be unsettling and challenging, but a building designed in the 1950s is not necessarily right for an organisation working at the cutting edge of healthcare delivery and training in the 21st century. We had the chance to release the residual value of our Sussex Place lease, which will enable us to create a new environment that really meets the needs of a modern College, its members and staff, for decades to come.
Our Leading Safe Choices programme in South Africa and Tanzania is having a genuine impact on the health and wellbeing of women and their families. It’s vital that we continue to take the best of what we do in the UK, in clinical quality, education and training, and apply this to global settings, particularly to make good health care available to women in countries with lower resources.
Ian Wylie, Chief Executive