A SCOTTISH organisation that uses its profits to advance worldwide surgical standards has teamed up with Harvard University and the Rwandan Surgical Society (RSS) to help tackle the African country’s surgical crisis.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) said there is an urgent need for more trained medical specialists in Rwanda, where just 150 surgeons, physicians, anaesthetists and obstetricians serve a population totalling more than 12 million.

Now, thanks to hosting hotel breaks and functions such as weddings and lunches, cash is being raised by Surgeons Quarter – the enterprise arm of the RCSEd – to support the training of future surgeons in the country. Over the next year, the society will train operating theatre teams in non-technical surgical skills to improve surgical safety in Rwandan hospital.

It will work with the RSS, Brigham and Women’s Centre for Surgery and Public Health at Harvard and Johnson & Johnson to make it happen.

Non-specialist surgical teams, including GPs, anaesthesia technicians and theatre nurses, will be trained with a focus on situation awareness, decision-making, communication, teamwork and leadership.

The RCSEd said the collaborative training will reach every district hospital in the country by incorporating itself into a pre-existing RSS outreach training programme, which is working to strengthen the technical skills of GPs at district hospitals. So far, the curriculum has been taught to more than 200 post-graduate trainees in surgery, anaesthesia, obstetrics and nursing.

Funding has come through Surgeons Quarter – which manages and makes money from the RCSEd’s historic campus, and from American biotech company Johnson & Johnson. Surgeons Quarter runs Edinburgh’s largest independent hotel, Ten Hill Place, and also hosts weddings and conferences in college-owned Old Town buildings.

RCSEd president Professor Mike Griffin said: “Building surgical capacity in Rwanda, for Rwanda, is all part of the college’s commitment to improving its access to surgery worldwide. Training and providing practical experience in-country is vital in making this happen.”