New Dean of Postgraduate Specialist Training at RCPI to Prioritise Model of Training and Engagement with Trainees

Professor Colm Bergin, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at St James’s Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, has been appointed Dean of Postgraduate Specialist Training and Dun’s Tutor at the RCPI

Professor Bergin has been involved in RCPI activities for many years.  He is currently Co-National Specialty Director in Infectious Diseases, a member of the RCPI Policy Group on the EU Working Time Directive, and has been a member of Council since 2006. He also co-chairs the RCPI Policy Group on Sexual Health. 

As Dean of Postgraduate Specialist Training, Professor Bergin will have overall responsibility for the development and delivery of postgraduate medical training in RCPI, including the development of curricula, the accreditation of training sites and the quality assurance of training delivery. One of his main objectives is to carry out a review of postgraduate medical training in RCPI and develop a strategic vision for its future.

Professor Bergin has said that he would like to continue the significant work undertaken by his predecessor (Dr Bernard Silke) and further implement a new approach to training within RCPI. One important strategic theme of his appointment will be to enhance engagement with trainees.

As the healthcare system struggles to attract and retain NCHDs, who are often required to work in challenging circumstances, it is vitally important that trainees are involved with their respective postgraduate training bodies. Professor Bergin is keen to ensure that trainees have an increased role in postgraduate specialist training and plans to work with the Collegiate Membership and other stakeholders on the issues of recruitment and retention of NCHDs.

Professor Bergin is also keen to embrace opportunities to modernise medical training, by developing flexible, online, and local methods of delivery with the establishment of an “exemplar training model”. He also sees the introduction of quality measurements to training as key to its future development.

Following his appointment, Professor Bergin said, “Rather than relying on the duration of a training programme alone to ensure that a trainee meets the required standards, we must build on existing competency-based assessment measures for trainees and develop quality metrics to monitor outcomes from Specialty Training Committees, individual trainers and training units.”

Professor Bergin will also seek to strengthen and further develop relationships between RCPI, the HSE, the Medical Council, Irish postgraduate medical training bodies and other key stakeholders involved in healthcare delivery, thereby closing a circle on the interface between training, service delivery, academia and workforce planning. Medical Council accreditation of RCPI postgraduate medical training programmes will be another key priority in 2012.

A Vice Dean for Postgraduate Specialist Training will also to be appointed shortly, to support Professor Bergin in these activities.

In addition to his current appointments in St James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin, Professor Bergin is the Clinical Director of the Surgical and Medical Subspecialties (SaMs) Directorate at St. James’s Hospital, the Lead Clinician in the OPAT (Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy) Programme with the Health Services Executive and is also concluding his term as President of the Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland (IDSI).

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