Welcome to our international newsletter to keep you up to date with College activities around the world.

International newsletter

October 2018

From the International Director

I am pleased to announce that two colleagues with a huge wealth of experience will be joining me to progress the RCPE international strategy.

Dr Donald Farquhar has been appointed to the role of International Training Fellow Tutor to consolidate and further develop our successful MTI and fledgling IMTF programs in Scotland and the UK.

Dr Albert McNeil has been appointed to the role of Development Tutor (International) to support the College’s work in emerging countries.

On his appointment, Dr McNeil said: "It is an honour and privilege to help the College develop our international strategy. In my role as International Development Tutor I will have the opportunity to help service development in low and middle income countries. We at the College value the work and enthusiasm of our international Fellows and Members who often work in very difficult circumstances, and I look forward to meeting and working with them.”

“I hope to be able to call on the generous goodwill of  UK fellows and Members and other workers who may be interested in spending periods of  time, whether short or long, working in developing countries, and bringing their skills to those who need them. I am excited to start this important role and I look forward to being able to meet as many colleagues, Fellows and Members as possible.”

The College is lucky to have such high calibre people who are keen to continue to give up a huge amount of their valuable time.  We will provide further updates on their work over the coming months.

As you will see from below, the College’s international work continues apace, and I hope that you find this update interesting and informative. If anyone has any queries, or would like to discuss any of the below items in more detail with me, please do get in touch. I am always delighted to get help and guidance from all for the benefit of the college.

Prof Sunil Bhandari, International Director, September 2018



From the President

From the President…

President Mamnoon Hussain of Pakistan with College President Prof Derek Bell

I was honoured to welcome the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, to the College in August. President Hussain was awarded a Fellowship by the College in recognition of his contribution to anti-polio campaigning and commitment to healthcare. I took the opportunity to discuss with him exploring ways of increasing collaboration between the College and Pakistani medical colleges and universities in the future, in order to improve care for patients.

Our network of Overseas Regional Advisers is expanding and we are delighted to welcome Professor Senaka Rajapakse in Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Professor Widana Arachchilage Thilak Ananda Jayalath (known as “Thilak”) in Sri Lanka (excluding Colombo) to their new roles.

I am delighted to welcome Professor Paul Kelly, who has been appointed as Regional Adviser for Zambia with immediate effect.  This is a new role and we are very grateful to Professor Kelly for taking on this key appointment. Regional Advisers, both in the UK and overseas, are a vital part of the College’s network, acting as a local representative for the College and providing support to Fellows and Members wherever you are in the world.

I recently attended the 52nd Malaysia - Singapore Congress of Medicine, met with local Fellows and Collegiate Members and undertook a roll signing for New Fellows. This engagement follows on from the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding on health and academic cooperation with the College of Physicians, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia last year and forms part of the College’s international strategy to collaborate with colleagues across the world and share knowledge, innovation and best practice and develop our International Training Fellowship programme.

Of interest, one of the College’s MTI trainees recently won a prestigious prize at the British Thoracic Society Summer Meeting 2018 Clinical Grand Round. Sana Mohammed is a trainee from Trinidad completing a two year fellowship at Northumbria NHSFT in Respiratory Medicine. The award is a highlight at the yearly summer meeting and a fantastic achievement for any Respiratory registrar.
Finally, our recent New Fellows’ Day and admission ceremony was a great success. Fellows joined us in Edinburgh from Bangladesh, Canada, Singapore, the USA and India as well as from across the UK, and were here with us for a full day programme. These events are always a high point of the College calendar with Fellows and their families celebrating their achievements in our historic buildings.

College News from Around the World – Prof Sunil Bhandari

Jordan - 

In May several college fellows were in Jordan as part of a joint 14th International Jordanian Conferences of Internal Medicine, which was organised by the Jordanian Society of Internal Medicine in partnership with the College and the European Federation of Internal Medicine.

This was a really good meeting, and included an address by Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal, as well as session focussing specifically on critical care and cute internal medicine, nephrology, neurology, gastroenterology & hepatology, endocrinology & diabetes, cardiology, haematology/oncology, rheumatology, pulmonary medicine and infectious diseases.

Pakistan - 

Along with the College President Prof Derek Bell OBE, I will once again be visiting Pakistan, this time under the auspices of the Surgeons General Meeting in October. Our colleague Dr Gary Davies will be joining us also. In addition to lecturing, we will review trainees’ experience of medical education in renal, medical and cardiology services, and also carry out some opportunistic teaching.

Sri Lanka - 

College Vice President Dr Deepak Dwarakanath was in Sir Lanka in September helping to interview MTI candidates on behalf of the College in addition to acting as the external examiner for their MD program. Our collaboration here continues to grow.

In November, College President Prof Derek Bell will also be speaking at the Sri Lankan Society of Internal Medicine [SLSIM] conference SIMCON 2018. Prof Bell was invited by Prof Senaka Rakapakse who is President of SLSIM and also our College’s Regional Adviser. There will also be a College Roll-signing Ceremony on Saturday 3 November at 1700hrs in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo.

India - 

I will again have the pleasure of visiting India, firstly in Chennai to discuss a potential regional symposium with my colleague Dr Ennapadam Krishnamoorthy, which we are aiming to hold in the future. I will also be chairing a PACES taking place between 12 and 16 November, and I would be delighted to meet with Fellows and Members during my visit.

I then travel to West Bengal to assist in PACES teaching in Kolkata. This will be my third visit to the city, and I will be joining colleagues Dr Brian Wood (from Australia), Prof Peter Grant, Vice President Dr Deepak Dwarakanath and Dr James Williamson (also from Australia) to speak at the 3rd International Medicon Medical Conference in collaboration with Peerless Hospital and BK Roy Foundation, Acute Physicians West Bengal Chapter.

Malaysia - 

In Malaysia, I am working with Professor Roger Barton to develop a joint conference that will be held in April 2019. We are currently developing the programme, and also looking for contacts within the pharma industry who might be able to assist with sponsorship, so please let me know if you have any contacts within that industry.

Myanmar - 

Even the power of the Monsoon rains were not enough to dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of the PACES participants I met recently in Myanmar. This was a Federation visit, and we had 31 attendees for the PACES course that was being held and coordinated by my friend and colleague Dr Mo Aye. I was also able to give a talk at a CPD day, titled “sweetening the urine to save the kidneys”, as well as a general PACES overview.

Hong Kong - 

The College will also be helping our colleagues at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine to celebrate their Silver Jubilee in December, an event we are very much looking forward to, and which we congratulate them on reaching. College Vice President Dr Tom Mackay will deputise for the President at this meeting.

Jamaica - 

President Prof Bell has been invited to the 45th Annual Dr Ena Thomas Memorial Lecture & Symposium in Jamaica, where he will be the guest speaker at the Dinner and give the memorial lecture at the Symposium.  There will be a College Fellowship Roll-signing Ceremony on Saturday 24 November at 1700hrs in the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Kingston.

Iraq / Kurdistan Region of Iraq - 

In December, the President and I, along with a small faculty of UK

speakers, are attending the 3rd International Conference, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University in Erbil which is in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a visit we are very much looking forward to.



We are pleased to report that the College’s MTI programme continues to grow. Current numbers include a total of 55 trainees (8 CMT, 47 HST) since inception. Currently 48 trainees (11 CMT, 37 HST) in post and 15 due to start in 2019 (6 CMT, 9 HST). From a wide range of countries including: Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iraq, Jordan, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, USA.

In Collaboration with the GMC, the College will be hosting an MTI induction day on the 28th September which I attended, and I enjoyed very much meeting some of our trainees for a drink and a chat.

Recent MTI graduates on a trip to the College, September 2018

Now in our sixth year, our Medical Training Initiative (MTI) provides invaluable training opportunities in the UK for doctors from outside the EU. Over 100 trainees have worked (or are working) in the UK since 2012 as a result of the College’s MTI programme. NHS Trusts and Health Boards in the UK are finding our trainees a valuable asset and we’ve received some extremely positive feedback from colleagues:

“Dr A and Dr H [are] highly regarded by senior consultants and peers. [They have] established excellent working relationships with patients, carers, relatives and the multidisciplinary team providing care for patients. [They have] contributed significantly to teaching and supervision of more junior doctors within the unit.”

“Dr D has settled extremely well into life and work in the UK. She is very well liked by her seniors, colleagues, rheumatology team and other health professionals… She is very enthusiastic and keen to learn”

Feedback from trainees on their UK experience has been equally encouraging:

“I managed to gain as much exposure as I could get in interstitial lung disease under the guidance of experienced and regional experts of the field. Certainly has been an experience of a lifetime for myself and it has been a stepping stone of my advancement in my career as a pulmonologist.”

“Excellent opportunities to network and research”

“I had an absolutely amazing experience as an MTI candidate. The training I got was exceptional and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh was supportive during my application as well as my stay. “

We will continue to update you on feedback from former trainees who are putting their UK experience in to use in their home countries, and we continue to seek MTI applications from suitably qualified trainees and full details of eligibility criteria and how to apply are available on our website.


College hosting the 8th European Alcohol Policy Conference

The College is very proud to host the forthcoming 8th European Alcohol Policy Conference (8EAPC) at our newly redeveloped conference centre Edinburgh on 20 - 21 November. This is a major biennial international conference and this year is organised by SHAAP (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems) and Eurocare (The European Alcohol Policy Alliance).

Over 300 delegates are expected from across Europe and the world to discuss a number of hot topics, and with speakers from, among others, European Commission, the WHO, and a number of NGOs, it promises to be a fascinating event. The exciting programme includes a Gala Dinner, with music and short films throughout. 

The conference is for policy-makers, researchers, healthcare professionals, workers in support and recovery services, and there will be plenty of opportunities to network. There are discounts for College Fellows and Members. To secure your place, book now .


Partnerships & Volunteering

The College is always striving to stay engaged with our community of Fellows and Members based across the world, and to showcase their excellent achievements. Our Partnerships and Volunteering scheme highlights the latest international projects taking place around the globe.

Nurse Training Sessions at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University,
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Projects include support for post-graduate training, twinning partner organisations, non-communicable disease management, and training of healthcare professionals in numerous countries, including many low-income (UK Department for International Development) countries such as Malawi, Bangladesh, Nepal and Zambia.

We encourage our Fellows and Members to get alongside local professionals, to support training and education and to enable the delivery of high-quality healthcare that is locally sustainable.

Ward round at Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi

Many of the projects shown offer opportunities for volunteering abroad. If you would be interested in volunteering your time, efforts, or expertise to any of the projects listed, please contact the relevant organiser shown on the project page.

We are continually looking to expand and grow our Partnerships and Volunteering opportunities, and would be keen to hear from interested Fellows and Members. If you are involved in a partnership or project that is looking for volunteers/experience and would like to include it on our website, please get in touch by emailing us on International@rcpe.ac.uk.


International Webstreaming Update

Every year we webstream our major symposia to over 60 sites in 30 different countries; last year we had over 4,000 attendees via  our international sites and welcomed six new webstreaming centres in Malaysia, India, Gibraltar, Pakistan and Australia.

Delegates watching the Infectious Diseases symposium at Ballina District Hospital, Australia.

These live broadcasts are provided free of charge, and we provide electronic CPD certificates for every delegate that attends. Please click here for more information on attending at one of our current webstreaming centres.

If you are interested in setting-up a webstreaming centre near you, please get in touch by emailing us on international@rcpe.ac.uk.The list of current webstream sites changes for every symposium, so please make sure to keep an eye on the ‘Live Links’ tab on our Events Calendar webstreaming centre.


College Vacancy – Education Events Tutor (International)

The College is looking to further augment its international team with the appointment of an Educational Events tutor. The role will focus on coordinating the programme of events delivered with international partners, as well as promoting the College’s e-learning platform and ensuring it is meeting the needs of our international Fellows and Members.

The closing date for this role is 31st October 2018, and further details can be found on our website.


Keeping PACES in Kenya – Reflections on a recent visit

Lindy Tedford, Head of Examinations, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

The majority of the team arrived early on 16th August, and the first order of business was to visit. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) Elephant Nursery in Nairobi National Park, which provides a safe haven to orphaned baby elephants rescued by the DSWT. This was a wonderful way to begin our visit to Kenya, and we left feeling very inspuired that these unfortunate young elephants were being cared for so well.

Elephants at the (DSWT) Elephant Nursery

This all too brief sightseeing trip preceded some quite frantic work, as we then got straight into preparing for the following days PACES lectures, which were followed by sessions of clinical bedside teaching of station 1, 3 and 5. At the same time, I was offering my support to the local admin team to help the set-up and preparation of the exam centre for the practice run of 2 cycles of the PACES examination that were to take place on the following two days. 

PACES in action is a confusing and complicated format, and the local team of examiners and administrators are to be congratulated on how well they mastered the process. Running the exam to time was not paramount on the first day, it was more important to make sure that all participants understood how the exam should run.  However when the second day arrived (which involved 3 cycles) it was necessary to ensure the courses were run to time, something that the local team did ably - the beginnings of a well-oiled machine started to emerge.

Ten local examiners, each one experiencing either Station 1 or 3, Station 2 or 4 and Station 5, were trained in preparation for the first real exam which will take place in March 2019.

The standard of the local candidates was impressive and the enthusiasm of the local examiners and administrative staff was excellent. We were made to feel very welcome and appreciated, and it was a very successful trip.

This visit was part of the Nairobi MRCP(UK) PACES Pathfinder, and was run at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. The Examiners representing the College were Dr Roderick Harvey and Dr Donald Farquhar, and we were also accompanied by colleagues from other Colleges.