Croydon NHS spearheads change in England’s surgery teams – and has historic first new member | Trust news

Croydon NHS spearheads change in England’s surgery teams – and has historic first new member

Matthew Smith and wife Starlene and Stella Vig 2.JPG

Croydon clinicians are at the forefront of a new way of working for surgical teams across the country.

For the first time ever, clinicians who work alongside surgeons during operations are being allowed to join the distinguished Royal College Of Surgeons (RCS). They will be called ‘Associate Members’.

Stella Vig who is Clinical Director at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust (CHS) is also a member of the RCS College Council who advocated this new approach. 

The sea-change will improve training and teamwork, and allow colleagues to access resources and development opportunities through the RCS – helping shape the future of their roles.

The first ever person to join under this new arrangement is Matthew Smith who, like Stella, is a clinician at CHS. As the very first of these new Associate Members, Matthew will act as an ambassador to encourage others to join.

Matthew is Surgical First Assistant in the operating theatre for trauma and orthopaedic cases at Croydon University Hospital. This includes prepping patients for surgery, retraction of tissues and organs, assisting with haemostasis (stopping bleeding) and the closure of wounds.

Matthew’s wife Starlene (who works at Bromley’s Princess Royal University Hospital) was the second Associate Member to join.

Matthew said:

"It is a huge honour and privilege to be the first founding registered associate member of such a respected organisation as the Royal College of Surgeons. I hope other Surgical First Assistants will become members and our medical colleagues will provide continued support in our roles as associate members. It is also an exciting time for Operating Department Practitioners who are trained Surgical First Assistants to embrace this opportunity, I am very much looking forward to working with the Royal College of Surgeons in moving the Surgical First Assistant role forward."

Stella added:

“The Royal College of Surgeons is very forward-thinking in implementing these changes, which will give talented clinicians fantastic new opportunities for decades to come. We’re very proud to have led the changes from here in Croydon, where we run an award-winning training centre for surgeons.”

The following roles within surgical care teams are now being welcomed to be Associate Members:

  • Surgical Care Practitioners
  • Surgical First Assistants
  • Physician Associates
  • Advanced Nurse Practitioner
  • Advanced Clinical Practitioners



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