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The First Minister of Wales and the President of The Royal College of Surgeons England will attend a ‘Celebration of Surgery’ event

01 Dec 2022

The President of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, Professor Neil Mortensen, will visit South Wales today and tomorrow, to meet with members of the surgical community. He will provide the keynote address at the “Celebration of Surgery” event on Friday (December 2) which the First Minister of Wales, Professor Mark Drakeford, will also speak at.

Surgeons from across Wales are expected to attend, to share their experiences of how surgical teams are working, celebrate successes and to discuss any challenges in the Welsh NHS. There are currently 750,000 ‘patient pathways’ on the waiting list in Wales – which equates to nearly a quarter of the population waiting for treatment. The aim of the event is to celebrate everything the surgical community has and can do to help patients, and also push for the changes that are needed to help bring planned waiting lists down.

Professor Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:
“Our surgeons in Wales are a vital part of our membership. Every day they perform life-changing and life-enhancing operations for patients in Wales. There is much to celebrate about the work they are doing and I am honoured to have an opportunity to meet with them, as well of course with the First Minister, Professor Mark Drakeford. Wales is not alone with the difficulties it is facing regarding its planned waiting list – the stresses in health are being felt across the UK. We are, however, seeing progress being made in the development of surgical hubs in other areas. I hope I will be able to talk to colleagues and others about the benefits that our work in this area has reaped for patients.
“A key part of my role as president is to meet with our surgeons from all over the UK, who are working on the frontline, and listen to the issues which they think could be improved to enhance patient care. It is often by sharing these experiences and solutions that we can help bring improvements in surgical care for patients.”

Professor Jon Barry, Director in Wales for the Royal College of Surgeons of England said:
“It is an honour to have our College president visit Wales and speak at the events we are hosting. It brings home to surgical colleagues that the College has an active, thriving membership in Wales that is equally important to its network of surgeons around the UK.
“We have much to celebrate here in Wales, but we also know that there is a need for reform. We have a dedicated team in Wales looking at how we can work with stakeholders across the NHS and government, to help patients receive the planned care they need quicker. The Royal College of Surgeons of England has long called for dedicated surgical hubs, or ‘elective centres’, in Wales. These hubs will help to speed up patients’ access to planned surgery and build in the extra capacity needed to address increasing waiting lists.”

Miss Rachel Hargest, a consultant general surgeon, RCS England Council Member and host of the ‘Celebration of Surgery’ event said: “We have a lot to celebrate about the high quality, compassionate care, surgical teams in Wales deliver day in and day out. Often we do not stop and recognize this, so it has been a pleasure to arrange our celebration event and see all the excellent work and research that is done in our profession. I am delighted that both the President of the RCS England, and the First Minister of Wales, have found time to join us. They will hear from an excellent array of panellists and speakers that show the variety and depth of our profession.
“It has been a real pleasure to look at the work submitted for prizes and competition. I hope that all those in attendance recognize the skill, talent, and dedication we have in our surgical teams in Wales.”

Notes to editors
1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) is a professional membership organisation and registered charity. The College provides world-class education, assessment and development to more than 28,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. The College sets professional standards, facilitates research and champions the best outcomes for patients – with a vision to see excellent surgical care for everyone.
2. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6047/6054, Email:, or for out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.

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