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Invited Review Mechanism (IRM)

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) is committed to enabling surgeons achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. The delivery of good surgical care is not always straightforward and there are many daily challenges for surgeons and the teams they work in. The College is committed to providing assistance wherever this is required and to helping to ensure that patients receive good quality care.

What is an invited review?

When a healthcare organisation needs an external expert opinion, an invited review can provide expert independent and objective advice. 

Invited reviews are a partnership between the RCS, the Surgical Specialty Associations and lay reviewers representing the patient and public interest. An invited review supports - but does not replace - existing procedures for managing surgical performance.

We believe that invited reviews offer a highly valuable resource by providing healthcare organisations with independent expert advice. Through reliable and trustworthy peer review processes standards can continue to be improved and concerns can be addressed.

Invited review types

The Invited Review Mechanism (IRM) has assisted healthcare organisations address a range of quality and performance issues through the following reviews:

  • Service reviews: can help with a range of issues from advice and assurance on matters of safety and quality, teamworking and behaviours to achieving service improvement and achieving best practice in service design.
  • Individual reviews: help healthcare organisations identify whether there is a cause for concern about any aspect of an individual’s surgeon’s practice and provide advice on how any problems identified can be addressed.
  • Clinical record reviews: provide an independent, expert opinion on the management of one or more episodes of patient care and whether this meets College and Surgical Specialty Association standards.

RCS Invited Review Handbook

Additional information can be found in the Invited Review Handbook. This document provides regulations and guidance for healthcare organisations commissioning invited reviews. It sets out the processes that will normally be followed by the RCS when undertaking invited reviews on behalf of the healthcare organisations that commission them.

Contact the invited review team

If you would like to discuss how the RCS invited review team can help you, please call us on 020 7869 6220 or email

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