Hospital Dr invited Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), to answer 12 questions and complete a half finished sentence:
1. What is the biggest challenge the profession faces?
“There are a few: increasing consultant presence in the labour wards to improve safety and quality, reducing litigation and enhancing the quality of postgraduate training.”
2. When did you last laugh and why?
“Laughter is the best medicine – it makes you relax. I laughed whilst watching a comedy with my son recently.”
3. What are the RCOG’s priorities over the next year?
“To evaluate whether we are able to provide high quality training with the reduction of hours as a result of EWTD implementation; and to improve quality and safety whilst reducing the cost of care provided.”
4. Which person influenced you most as a doctor and why?
“There have been many over the years – my seniors and colleagues have always encouraged and inspired me to do better.”
5. When were you most in danger?
“Fifteen years ago, I had a road traffic accident when my car skidded and hit a tree.”
6. How will royal colleges maintain their relevance?
“Royal Colleges are key to the provision of postgraduate medical education. We develop the curriculum and run the examinations. We are also involved in the setting of clinical standards through our guidelines and scientific papers. These activities help advance the practice of medicine.
“Our members give up their time voluntarily and work both weekdays and weekends to give their best to the college. This commitment and loyalty shown by our members cannot be equalled elsewhere. Without this sense of altruism and the sharing of their knowledge and expertise, I think patient care will not be as robust as it is.”
7. What is your favourite piece of music?
“I enjoy Indian classical music, played on traditional instruments such as the sitar and nathaswaram, by musicians like Ravi Shankar.”
8. How will we improve maternity services?
“Three very basic points: the provision of one-to-one midwifery care in labour; care closer to home for antenatal and postnatal care; and increased consultant presence in hospital maternity units.”
9. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
“Relaxing with my family and close friends with a single malt whisky.”
10. What are the hallmarks of an excellent O&G team?
“Good clinical outcomes, small numbers of low-risk incidents and complaints received and the continuous monitoring of performance (through using the maternity dashboard).”
11. What was your most embarrassing professional moment?
“I received an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens. I thought I should say a few words in Greek which I prepared but failed miserably in delivering.”
12. Of what achievement are you most proud?
“Being Honoured as Knight Bachelor in the Queens Birthday Honors list, in June 2009, for services to medicine.”
Finish this half written sentence: trainees working to a 48-hour week will…need to work hard and use every clinical encounter as a learning opportunity.