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Diversity a challenge for RCSI governing body

RCSI has difficulty reflecting diversity in its governing body, as the surgical profession needs to “evolve towards a more representative gender and societal balance”, a report from Prospectus Management Consultants found.

The governing body of RCSI is its Council, comprised of 21 surgeons under a legal Charter. There are also two lay personnel who are not full members.

The Prospectus report was conducted as part of assessing RCSI’s successful application for university status.

Assessing RCSI on respect for “diversity of values, beliefs and traditions in Irish society”, the report stated: “The main challenge for RCSI is at a governance rather than operational level due to the requirement for elected members of the surgical profession itself needing to evolve towards a more representative gender and societal balance.

“RCSI is aware of the challenge and is active in addressing them,” added the report, which noted that four Council members were women (now five).

“The College has greater discretion to ensure diversity in the composition of the Medical and Health Sciences Board, which oversees all matters relating to medical and health sciences education to degree level and in the composition of the Surgery and Postgraduate Faculties Board and has sought so to do.”

Overall, RCSI met the assessed criteria in regard to governance, finances, diversity and academic freedom. In November, Minister for Education Joe McHugh wrote to RCSI CEO Prof Cathal Kelly stating his intention to make a university authorisation order in respect of RCSI. “An tÚdarás [the HEA] did note… that the RCSI Council would, as the body ultimately responsible for institutional governance, benefit from student voice and representation and recommended this be taken into consideration should the RCSI Charter be reviewed at any future stage.”

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