On Thursday 21st March morning a simple but important function was held in the Board
Room of the Faculty of Medicine. The occasion was of great significance because it
marked the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna as a Royal
College of Surgeons of England International Centre to deliver courses in Basic
Surgical Skills and Core Laparoscopy Surgery.
Surgical training has undergone many changes over the years. One outcome of these changes
is the interest that has been generated in the possibility of training surgical skills
outside the operating theatre. Simulation in skills laboratories making use of animal
and artificial tissue as well as simulators has increasingly become an important way to
train doctors before they transfer these skills for use on patients. The Royal College
of Surgeons for many years has been conducting such courses both within the United
Kingdom and outside. Basic Surgical Skills is a two-day course that provides surgery
trainees with the basic and essential skills that are required in the operating
theatres. It stresses the importance of ‘one safe way’ in carrying out basic surgical
procedures and in understanding the rationale for them. Similarly, the Core Laparoscopic
Surgery course over a three-day period provides training for surgical trainees in the
basic skills of laparoscopic surgery making use of modern endo trainer simulators for
RCS team conducts training
Prior to the function on Thursday, a six-member team from the Royal College of Surgeons
led by Mr. Andrew Miles conducted three training programs from the 13th to 19th March.
Local surgeons recruited from the University Surgery Department, Teaching Hospital,
Jaffna and the Provincial hospitals to form a local faculty were trained as trainers.
This was followed by the newly formed local faculty carrying out the Basic Surgical
Skills (BSS) and Core Laparoscopy Surgery (CLS) courses for local participants with the
help and guidance of the RCS team. The courses were well conducted and carried out
effectively with very positive feedback from participants, local faculty and the RCS
team. Faculty technical staff also received training in how to set up and prepare the
practical aspects of the courses.
The RCS team members interacted fully with local staff and participants with great
friendliness and a complete lack of inhibition! The generous manner in which they
involved themselves in all aspects of the programs was what contributed to the
successful outcome of the courses. Both groups learned from each other during these nine
days. There were also opportunities for the visitors and local faculty to interact
socially as well. Many new friends were made.
During the function held on Thursday 21st March, the Vice Chancellor of the University of
Jaffna, Prof.Vigneswaran, handed over the signed ‘Letter of Agreement’ to Ms.Susan Hill,
senior Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons. She in turn handed over
certificates signed by the President of the Royal College of Surgeons that certified the
University of Jaffna as an RCS International Centre to deliver Basic Surgical Skills and
Core Laparoscopy Surgery courses. Those who spoke during the function included the Head
of the Dept. of Surgery, Dr.S.T.Sarma, the Vice Chancellor, and the Dean of the Faculty
of Medicine, Dr.S.Raviraj. A brief summary of how the project had come about and become
a reality was given by Dr.D.C.Ambalavanar, the program organiser. Following a video
presentation depicting scenes from the recently conducted courses both Mr. Andrew Miles,
the RCS team leader, and Ms. Susan Hill said a few words again mentioning how this
collaboration had come about, expressing their satisfaction at the manner in which the
program had taken place and regarding the possibilities of building on this in the
future as well as thanking the faculty and staff. Mementos and certificates were given
to members of the RCS team by the Dean following which Mr. Miles handed out certificates
to local faculty. Dr. S. Rajendra, the Course Director, then handed out certificates to
the participants and brought the function to a close with the vote of thanks.
Benefits of collaboration with the RCS
The Faculty of Medicine can now conduct two important training courses, BSS and CLS, for
surgery trainees in Sri Lanka and possibly from outside the country as well.
Participants will undergo training of an international standard and receive Royal
College of Surgeons certification which will be recognized in the UK and where ever RCS
certification is accepted. Providing such courses in collaboration with the RCS will
further strengthen the academic credentials of the Faculty of Medicine and the
University of Jaffna. There will be also be a benefit to undergraduate medical students
as the quality of basic surgical skills training that they undergo will inevitably
There is also the potential to build on this endeavor with the RCS by expanding the
number of courses, research collaboration and staff training and exchange programs among
other things. The possibilities are exciting indeed.
Successfully establishing the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna as a Royal
College of Surgeons International Centre to provide BSS and CLS courses is a tremendous
achievement and one of which the Faculty can take great satisfaction and pride.
Members of the RCS Team
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