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RCSI finalises policy against ‘live surgery’ for education purposes

Last September, this newspaper first reported that the RCSI Council had discussed and decided in April 2016 against the use of live surgery transmission for educational purposes.

At the September 2016 meeting of the RCSI’s Committee for Surgical Affairs, it was noted that a general policy on the issue of ‘live surgery’ was being prepared. This is according to minutes seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.

The text of the finalised policy provided to MI by the RCSI states: “Following detailed consideration of the potential benefits and risks involved in live broadcasting of surgical procedures and a detailed review of the policies in other jurisdictions, the Council of RCSI have determined that live broadcasts of surgical procedures outside the operating theatre suite should not be used for educational purposes as part of scientific meetings, as part of the education of medical or other students, or for the general public.”

It adds: “Broadcast includes closed-link systems, Internet (including social media platforms) and other similar modalities. All the educational benefits for students and trainees can be obtained using pre-recorded material and the use of such recorded material is encouraged.

“All such recording should be made with the patient’s consent, as set out in the HSE National Consent Policy. Further details on the policy and on the background are available from the Department of Surgical Affairs on request. “

The new RCSI policy on live surgery will be published on its website soon, a College spokesperson told MI.

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