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Advice and Support on for Commissioning

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) offers a variety of support services for commissioners and service providers, which are outlined below. 

Regional information and support

The College's regional professional affairs infrastructure enables commissioners and providers to access advice and support on the implementation of national commissioning guides at local level - as well as the provision of surgical services in your area.

Invited reviews of surgical services

An invited review provides an expert, independent and objective view on the delivery of a surgical service or the performance of an individual surgeon and how this can be improved.

We nominate senior consultant surgeons to undertake reviews on behalf of the RCS and the relevant surgical specialty association. We also have access to a highly experienced group of lay personnel who represent the patients' and public's interests.

Our review teams consider detailed documentation about the surgical service concerned and interview key personnel involved in providing the service before producing a comprehensive report that addresses the areas agreed under the terms of reference.

Examples of invited reviews

Recent examples of work undertaken for commissioners and providers include:

  • A review of a surgical team’s delivery of a specialist surgical pathway to assist commissioners and providers to identify reasons why key clinical performance indicators were not being met.
  • A review of a surgical team’s approach to a particular area of surgical care to identify if this was in line with key RCS and surgical specialty association standards.
  • A review of a commissioner’s analysis of the anticipated future demand for a surgical service and the factors that might affect its provider’s capacity to deliver this.
  • A review of the quality and safety of the delivery of a surgical service where concerns had been raised.

Read our in-depth information on invited reviews.

Contact the RCS invited review team

If you would like to discuss how the RCS invited review team can help you, please contact us by calling 020 7869 6222 or emailing

Support with revalidation

The RCS is committed to advancing surgical care and safeguarding patients. A robust implementation of the revalidation system is vital to achieving these objectives. We offer a range of resources to enhance health providers' understanding of the specialty-specific elements of revalidation:

  • An advisory service for officers, appraisers and individual surgeons who have queries on the surgical elements of revalidation. This online service is operated by a team of advisors from the RCS and the surgical specialty associations.
  • Guidance on supporting information for surgery, including specialty-specific framework guidance on surgical outcomes and audit, and guidance on the requirements of continuing professional development for surgical revalidation.
  • Guidance for surgeons who return to practice after a period of absence, developed under the auspices of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. This features a series of checklists and an action plan for the returning surgeon and his or her employer to ensure a safe return to practice.

Quality assurance and accreditation

The RCS Quality Assurance and Accreditation team has developed standards and guidance around the design, delivery and quality management of surgery-related educational activities and programmes.

It has also developed organisational standards for surgical education centres and defined training standards for surgical practitioner grades.

These standards - combined with a robust review and QA mechanism - are designed to aid service providers and commissioners in supporting the spread and adoption of best practice, sharing innovation and learning, driving continuous quality improvement and achieving standards of excellence in education.

A QA review is undertaken by an independent, objective panel of senior surgeons from the RCS Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee. It covers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities; short courses; programmes of study (including postgraduate programmes); peri /post-CCT training fellowships and surgical education centres. Detailed recommendations for quality improvement are provided and where activities meet the RCS standards, accreditation is awarded.

As part of an ongoing collaborative relationship between the College and the service provider, the RCS online evaluation platform is provided and accredited activities are monitored. All accredited activities and providers are listed on the RCS Accreditation portal.

If you would like to discuss how the RCS QA & Accreditation team can assist you, please contact the Accreditation Manager by calling 020 7869 6236 or emailing

Support for secondary care clinicians involved in commissioning

The College supports the work being carried out by The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The FMLM and RCP received funding from NHS England to support secondary care clinicians involved in commissioning.

This work with secondary care clinicians who are on CCG governing bodies will develop their understanding, skills and knowledge of the role. Secondary care clinicians provide a unique perspective of secondary care to commissioners with a view to aid integrated care.

In June 2015, the FMLM and RCP published  'Collaboration in clinical leadership: the role of secondary care doctors on CCG governing bodies'.

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